1.5 million people help pass law protecting Argentinean forests

Feature story - November 23, 2007
The forests of Argentina are being cleared at a rate of 40 football fields every hour. To stop the destruction we took to the trees - and to the streets. While our activists protested in the forest, we joined forces with other environmental groups, got 1.5 million signatures of support and pushed through Argentina's first federal forest protection law.

Demonstration at the National Congress to demand the Forest Law.

The new law includes a nationwide one-year moratorium on clearing of native forests - to avoid a rush of deforestation while forest management regulations are put in place. After a year, any jurisdiction still lacking regulations will continue to be prohibited from issuing new logging and land clearing permits.

The Forest Law also establishes environmental impact studies and public hearings - measures that will help protect forests where indigenous people live and small scale farmers.  To pay for implementation, the law allocates funds from the national budget, plus income from a new export tax on genetically engineered soy.

Forest clearing to plant genetically engineered soy beans destroys 300,000 hectares of native forest per year.

"Without those 1,500,000 signatures and the thousands of phone calls which the senators received, this law would never have been approved," said Hernan Giardini, Forest Campaign Coordinator for Greenpeace Argentina. "It is a real victory for the people and for the entire country."

Now we are only waiting for the approval of Congress, which we believe will happen before the end of the year.

Update:

  On 28 November 2007, the bill was approved and became law.

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