The United Nations has announced a new biosphere reserve in Brazil's Pantanal region, the largest tropical wetland ecosystem in the world. The country's biologists are hoping that Pantanal's new status will attract fresh funding and investment. The funds will help in conducting more extensive research on one of the Earth's most biologically-diverse but least-studied environs. Recently, the Inter-American Development Bank has given a loan of us $165 million for sustainable development, ecotourism and sanitation projects in the region. "It is a symbolic gesture and a step in the right direction," said Glenn Switkes, head of Latin American campaigns for International Rivers Network ( irn ), a California-based non-governmental organisation.
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