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At least the dinosaurs had an excuse: Part 2

By Alanna Mitchell

Cool heads and ...
From the rare and fearsome harpy eagle to the tiniest tree gecko, the people of Suriname have decided to preserve their species-rich wilderness for future generations by rejecting large-scale resource extraction that doesn't take into account its impact on nature.
... hot spots
Russell Mittermeier's beloved Suriname may be in good ecological shape, but Conservation International has designated more than two dozen 'hot spots' around the world that are not.

These are regions it considers vital to the planet's well-being
but in serious danger because of human activity.

Topping the list is the tropical forest that follows the Andes from
Venezuela to Argentina, taking in parts of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru
and Bolivia.

The region boasts 45,000 to 50,000 plant species (18 to 20 per cent of Earth's total). Of that, 20,000 are found nowhere else -- as are 677
of the region's 1,666 bird species.

But only 25 per cent of the original 1.258 million square kilometres of forest remain in their original condition, because of seasonal burning and livestock grazing, agriculture, mining, oil drilling and extensive
cultivation of the opium poppy.
What CI is doing
Peru: Developing resource-extraction practices that reduce environmental impact.
Ecuador: Working with business to market buttons and other products made from the ivory-like nuts of the tagua tree.
Colombia: Co-operating with coffee producers on national standards for ecologically sound growing practices, such as planting under the canopy of existing forests to leave habitat in tact.
Bolivia: Training rain-forest villagers to develop a locally run ecotourism trade.
Venezuela: Creating a conservation corridor to connect the country
to similar corridors in neighbouring states.

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