Free Newsletters - Space News - Defense Alert - Environment Report - Energy Monitor
. 24/7 Space News .




ENERGY TECH
Ecuador's Yasuni dilemma: a reserve full of life, and oil
by Staff Writers
Tiputini, Ecuador (AFP) Dec 04, 2012


The thumping whir of helicopters overhead sends a pack of terrified monkeys fleeing into the brush -- one clear sign of the impact of oil development in this incredibly biodiverse part of Ecuador's Amazon.

This ecological paradise, a reserve called the Yasuni that is 9,820 square kilometers (about 3,800 square miles) large, is home to one of the highest concentrations of varied animal species in the world.

It also sits atop around 846 million barrels of crude oil -- equivalent to a fifth of the total reserves of Ecuador, which relies heavily on oil exports for revenue.

In the name of environmental protection, President Rafael Correa has proposed a voluntary abstention from exploiting the oil in this reserve, in exchange for compensation from the international community to the tune of $3.6 billion, or about half the value of the estimated reserves in the protected area, by 2023.

Since 2011, however, the United Nations Development Program has raised only $200 million, a disappointment for Correa, who has not ruled out extracting the oil if he fails to raise the money.

In the meantime, the oil industry has continued to move into the area -- including with helicopters.

"Two years ago, when I arrived, we never heard them. Starting five months ago, we hear them four times a week," said Sara Alvarez, a Spanish researcher, who monitors a grouping of 35 spider monkeys.

Alvarez said that tapping the oil deposits -- and in particular, building the roads needed to get equipment and people in and the oil out -- will destroy the natural habitat of the region's monkeys.

"If the monkeys have less space, they cannot access some fruit," said the expert.

--- A modern-day Noah's Ark ---

-------------------------------

Alvarez studies primate behavior in a research center about 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the oil fields at Tiputini, within the Yasuni reserve.

The director of the center, US researcher Kelly Swing, warned that the stress caused by oil development will have cascading effects on more than just the monkeys.

For one thing, the fruit-eating monkeys serve to disperse seeds -- but fewer monkeys "would mean less seed dispersal and a loss of tree species," said Swing.

According to the research center, the Yasuni reserve is a veritable Noah's Ark of species, thanks to its unique location at a convergence of the Amazon, the Andes mountains and the equator.

The area, which served as a refuge for animals during the Ice Age, currently hosts a tenth of the world's species of plants, animals, and insects. On just one hectare, researchers found 100,000 species of insects.

Environmentalists say that developing the oil deposits will affect not only the plants and wildlife, but also natural water sources.

Mayer Rodriguez, 69, who has spent the last half century as a guide in the area, said the impact is already being felt, since developers started developing bloc 16 for oil in the mid-1980s.

He said that the Tiputini river banks were crowded with animals when he first came to the area 50 years ago.

"There were jaguars, tapirs and monkeys everywhere. There are still many left, but nothing compared to what we had," he recalled.

Some scientists estimate that for each kilometer of new road built, 100 hectares (247 acres) of forest disappear. And a single tree can absorb one ton of carbon dioxide -- the equivalent of the emissions emitted by 500 cars a year.

Oil industry detractors estimate that abandoning the Yasuni oil deposits would avert the emission of 407 million tonnes of carbon dioxide -- about the amount emitted each year in Brazil or France.

But with oil one of the Ecuador's top exports and its main source of hard currency, leaving a precious resource untapped is a hard decision.

That said, the country also takes seriously its responsibility to preserve its incredible wealth of biodiversity -- it is the country where US oil giant Chevron was ordered to pay a record $19 billion fine for pollution caused in the Amazon by its subsidiary between 1964 and 1990.

.


Related Links
Powering The World in the 21st Century at Energy-Daily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ENERGY TECH
Eco campaigners bash Germany's gas-guzzling cars
Berlin (AFP) Dec 04, 2012
Environmental campaigners have taken aim at famous German car brands like Porsche, Audi and BMW, criticising their high CO2 emissions as well as Germany's tax system they say promotes gas guzzlers. A symbol of industrial might exported all over the world, Germany's sports vehicles, estate cars and 4x4s also enjoy huge domestic popularity due to what one campaigner derided as an "absurd" tax ... read more


ENERGY TECH
WSU researchers use 3-D printer to make parts from moon rock

China's Chang'e-3 to land on moon next year

Moon crater yields impact clues

Study: Moon basin formed by giant impact

ENERGY TECH
NASA Mars Rover Fully Analyzes First Soil Samples

Curiosity Shakes, Bakes, and Tastes Mars with SAM

China prepares to grow vegetables on Mars: state media

Opportunity Gets to Work on Interesting Rock Targets

ENERGY TECH
SciTechTalk: Media fixes for space junkies

NASA Voyager 1 Encounters New Region in Deep Space

Voyager discovers 'magnetic highway' at edge of solar system

Why Study Plants in Space?

ENERGY TECH
Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

ENERGY TECH
Space Station to reposition for science

Spacewalks on agenda for new space crew

NASA, Roscosmos Assign Veteran Crew to Yearlong Space Station Mission

Three ISS crew return to Earth in Russian capsule

ENERGY TECH
S. Korea readies new bid to join global space club

Arianespace Lofts Pleiades 1B Using Soyuz Medium-lift launcher

Japan Schedules Radar Satellite Launch

Arianespace ready for next Soyuz and Ariane missions

ENERGY TECH
Do missing Jupiters mean massive comet belts?

Brown Dwarfs May Grow Rocky Planets

Astronomers report startling find on planet formation

A Sky Full of Planets

ENERGY TECH
Android extends global smartphone lead: survey

Experiment yields possible 'spooky' matter

ORNL develops lignin-based thermoplastic conversion process

Sender of first text message 'amazed' 20 years on




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement