Reserve rescued

Published: Thursday 15 December 2005

The Argentine province of Salta decided on November 15, 2005, to cancel the sale of a part of the Pizarro nature reserve to agribusinesses. Indigenous people living off the reserve have been campaigning since February 2004 against the provincial government stripping the reserve of its protected status and auctioning it off to agribusiness firms. On November 11, 2005, the reserve recovered its protected status through an agreement between the National Park Administration (NPA) and the Salta state government. A community ownership title has been granted to the Wichi indigenous people, who are hunter-gatherers; they will get 2,000 hectares (ha) of the total 22,000 ha that has been recovered. Salta has handed over the administration of the Pizarro reserve to the NPA. To compensate for parts of the reserve already lost, an agribusiness has undertaken to maintain an additional 3,000 ha forest in the reserve. A gamut of environmental and indigenous peoples' organisations, along with prominent sports and arts personalities, lobbied President Nstor Kirchner to intervene and overturn the decision taken by the state government.

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