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Environmental Issues Affecting the Pantanal: How to Solve Them? By: Kazuto Senga.

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Presentation on theme: "Environmental Issues Affecting the Pantanal: How to Solve Them? By: Kazuto Senga."— Presentation transcript:

1 Environmental Issues Affecting the Pantanal: How to Solve Them? By: Kazuto Senga

2 The Pantanal One of the largest seasonally flooded wetland in the world. Area = Approx.140,000 km² Connected to Paraguay, Cuiaba, and Negro Rivers. Map depicting Wetland Area and River Systems of Mato Grosso, Brasil.

3 The Pantanal Cont’d. Seasonally Flooded Wetland (Dry Summer, Flooded Rest of Year). Consist of Many Circular Bodies of Water (each has unique chemical properties). Photos: Aerial View of the Pantanal.

4 The Pantanal Cont’d Most number of Floating Hydrophytes in the world. Common Hydrophytes: Salvinia Typically Low Nutrient Home for many species of fish and wildlife, as well as humans. Photo: The Pantanal Wetland – Pantanal, Brazil (by David Schaub 2002).

5 Major Human Activities that Threaten the Pantanal: 1.Sewage pollution from Cuiaba City 2.Effects of “slash and burn” agriculture in the Cerrado 3.Mercury discharge from gold mining 4.Hidrovia Transportation Project

6 Sewage Pollution from Cuiaba: No Water Treatment Plant Wastes flow into Pantanal through Cuiaba River Causes Diseases: Cholera, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, etc. Pesticides (DDT) flows into Pantanal, causing health hazards for humans and animals, especially Birds.

7 The Cerrado: Savanna vegetation in dryer regions of wetlands in S. America. Commonly used for agriculture. Slash & Burn Agriculture: Unwanted vegetation (trees and shrubs) cleared by burning, then grassland formed for cattle. Unfortunately, nutrients (mainly in burned vegetation ashes) used up by erosion, leaching, water runoff, winds. Land productive for only 3 ~ 4 years. Photo: The Cerrado – Brasilia National Park (by Kazuto Senga 2002).

8 Effects of “slash and burn” agriculture in the Cerrado: Unproductive land become “bare”, which leads to: –Erosion –Increased Sedimentation in River & Streams. –Interferes with Water Input & Output into WL. –Also lowers nutrients. Photo 1: Burning and converting the Cerrado Photo 2: Cerrado Grassland for Cattle Farming – Tocantins, Brazil (by Kazuto Senga 2002).

9 Mercury discharge from gold mining: Used Mercury leaches into soil and ground water. Mercury carried by runoff and vaporization into rivers & streams Heavy Metal Contamination in Wetlands Poisoning through bioaccumulation & food chain. –Mercury Presence = 0.08 ~ 0.64 µg/g in Rondonia –World Health Organization’s suggested limit = 0.43 µg/kg/day –Health Hazard for Fish, Wildlife & Humans Digging & Excavation  Erosion  Sedimentation in Rivers

10 Hidrovia Project: Construction of a Highway and Waterway system In order to improve product transportation through Mato Grosso Province. Largest potential for wetland damage.

11 Hidrovia project Cont’d. Highway System –Will go through Pantanal to reach Cuiaba City –Increased Erosion & Deforestation –Interferes Animal Habitats and causes road kill. Photo: Transamazonica Highway – Santana do Araguaia, Brazil (by Kazuto Senga 2002).

12 Hidrovia Project Cont’d. Waterway System –Deepening of canals on rivers and streams –Designed to prevent drought and non-navigable water conditions. Photo: Unused ferry boat during dry season and shallow water – Palmas Tocantins, Brazil (by David Schaub 2002).

13 Hidrovia project Cont’d. –Seasonal flooding system will be heavily altered. Affect organisms adapted to seasonal floodings. –Pantanal will be drained much faster  longer drought period. Loss of Hydrophytes, Fish & Others. –Create uncontrolled floods downstream. Cuiaba River may be flooded by Paraguay River. Photos Above: Drought and Flooded Conditions of the Pantanal.

14 Approaches for Human Activity & Wetland Management Government and Community Involvement Increase enforcement in the wetland areas. –Prevent poaching, illegal gold mining, limit slash and burn agriculture. Educate the importance of wetlands. –Potential for tourism, better fishing (fish farming), clean water, long-term benefits. Photo: “Hunting for Fish and Animals is a Crime” – Cangussu River, Brazil (by David Schaub 2002).

15 Approaches for Human Activity & Wetland Management Cont’d Construction of sewage treatment plant in Cuiaba Create a Pantanal National Park –Government protection of wetlands from any construction and decrease human activity. –Good for local communities through new economic opportunities, ie) tourism. –Lower incentive to use excess natural resources. Photos Above: Sample Pictures of Brasilian Wetlands

16 Conclusions: Much work needed in the Mato Grosso region to provide long-term solution for the protection of the Pantanal. Human involvement and teamwork is crucial for the possible solutions to work. Help from organizations and technological aid from other countries. (EMBRAPA) Pantanal will no longer function as a stable wetland environment, if we continue to ignore the potential environmental issues affecting it.

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