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Drilling for Oil in Eden: Initiative to Save Amazon Rainforest in Ecuador Is Uncertain

Source:  Copyright 2012, Scientific American
Date:  March 17, 2012
Byline:  R. Douglas Fields
Original URL: Status ONLINE

The most biologically diverse habitat in the western hemisphere, the Yasuní rainforest in Ecuador, is under threat. The diversity of species in the Yasuní Park is unmatched by any other park in the world. One hectare contains more species of trees than all of North America, but hidden beneath this Garden of Eden lies temptation: oil worth billions.

Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa is bargaining the fate of the Yasuní Park against the willingness of the industrialized world to pay 3.6 billion dollars in return for a promise not to extract oil from the ecological preserve. The conservation proposal is praised internationally as a creative way to protect the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous people living there, but the fate of the Yasuní Initiative is in doubt. There is uncertainty whether the funding can be raised as governments grapple with the international economic crisis, and skeptics question whether the bargain could work.

"They are going to drill. ...

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