Environment

Threat of hydropower dam still looms in Chile's Patagonia

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IPS - After its victory in a nearly decade-long struggle against HidroAysén, a project that would have built five large hydroelectric dams on wilderness rivers, Chile’s Patagonia region is gearing up for a new battle: blocking a quiet attempt to build a dam on the Cuervo River.
 

New ‘State of the World’s Rivers’ project documents decline in rivers from dams

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IRN - Today, International Rivers launches “The State of the World's Rivers,” a first-of-its-kind interactive online database that illustrates the role that dams have played in impoverishing the health of the world's river basins. The database shows how river fragmentation due to decades of dam-building is highly correlated with poor water quality and low biodiversity. Many of the world’s great river basins have been dammed to the point of serious decline, including the Mississippi, Yangtze, Paraná and Danube. 
 

A life reserve for sustainable development in Chile's Patagonia

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IPS- The people of Patagonia in southern Chile are working to make the Aysén region a “life reserve”. Neighbouring Argentina, across the border, is a historic ally in this remote wilderness area which is struggling to achieve sustainable development and boost growth by making use of its natural assets.
 

When forests aren't really forests: the high cost of Chile’s tree plantations

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Mongabay.com, by Julian Moll-Rocek- At first glance, the statistics tell a hopeful story: Chile’s forests are expanding. According to Global Forest Watch, overall forest cover changes show approximately 300,000 hectares were gained between 2000 and 2013 in Chile’s central and southern regions. Specifically, 1.4 million hectares of forest cover were gained, while about 1.1 million hectares were lost. 
 

After 2,000 years, California's sequoias face uncertain future

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New York Times - High in the Sierras, biologists are struggling to find ways to protect some of the world’s oldest and most storied trees from drought, forest fires and climate change.
 

Chile's Patagonia seeks small-scale energy automony

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IPS - The southern region of Aysén in Chile’s Patagonian wilderness has the highest energy costs in the entire country. And the regional capital, Coyhaique, is the most polluted city in the nation, even though it has huge potential for hydroelectricity and wind power.
 

Chile’s wildlife is being failed by the government, say experts

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Santiago Times - In a recently published article in Science magazine, a team of researchers coined the term “defaunation” to alert the public of a new phase of animal extinction severely accelerated by humans. Despite this dire trend, though, the Chilean government neglects to take appropriate action due to the propagation of false information, say experts.
 

Setting rivers free: As dams are torn down, nature is quickly recovering

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Christian Science Monitor - “Look underneath you,” commands Nate Gray, a burly biologist for the state of Maine. He reaches down to the grate floor of a steel cage perched on a dam straddling the Sebasticook River, and pulls back a board revealing the roiling river 30 feet below. “All you see is fish.” 
 
Below, undulating in swift current, are the silver backs of thousands of small, sleek river herrings called alewives.
 

Extinct mega penguin was tallest and heaviest ever

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New Scientist - Forget emperor penguins, say hello to the colossus penguin. Newly unearthed fossils have revealed that Antarctica was once home to the biggest species of penguin ever discovered. It was 2 metres long and weighed a hefty 115 kilograms.
 

Magallanes penguins, ambassadors to Patagonia

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Conicet - There are about a million couples of penguins in the region. “One can imagine that the seagull is the most abundant bird in Patagonia; however, penguin populations are ten times larger and have very interesting social lives”, Marcelo Bertellotti, CONICET independent researcher of the National Patagonian Centre (CENPAT-CONICET), comments.
 
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