Promoting sustainability of human livelihoods in the Ñeembucú ecoregion, Paraguay

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Aveiro Talavera, Juan Jose
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Paraguay has 35% of its territory covered by wetlands. One of the most important is the Ñeembucú wetland, situated mostly in the Department of Ñeembucú. Human activity in sectors such as agriculture, industry, transportation (roads), and energy (hydroelectric dams), exercise pressure on the environment and natural resources. Wetland conservation in particular needs to be prioritized, and this cannot happen without the involvement of the local community (Local Residents or Campesinos and Ranchers), which currently does not take place. Consequently, implementation of an ecosystem management approach is crucial to maintaining social, economic, and environmental wellbeing. The overall objective of this research project is to promote sustainability of human livelihoods in the Ñeembucú ecoregion, Paraguay, working in partnership with stakeholders in order to balance production with environmental priorities. The principal findings of this research study are presented according to each specific objective it addressed. (1) Determine the socio-economic situation in the Ñeembucú. Campesinos live in a very precarious situation. (2) Assess changes in areas of water bodies and other land cover. Human activities such as drainage, burning and deforestation, are causing a change in the water distribution and the vegetation complexity of the area. (3) Identify general changes in wildlife abundance in the Ñeembucú region with particular emphasis on indicators of ecosystem health. There is a decrease in the wildlife population in the Ñeembucú region. (4) Establish how these changes are associated with cattle and crop production in the San Juan del Ñeembucú District. Ranchers were the main builders of channels and roads. (5) Identify and establish further socioeconomic initiatives with ranchers and farmers that balance production and environmental priorities. There is a lack of networking and joint work among stakeholders. (6) Recommend approaches to enhance sustainability of the ecoregion. The main recommendations are: • Develop an adaptive management plan • Stimulate environmental education to create awareness • Encourage public participation • Create protected areas for wildlife • Support research • Motivate local tourism and create work alternatives • Create a sustainable and regional water management plan for the Ñeembucú Department • Offer government technical support to local producers
sustainability, Paraguay, stakeholders, adaptive management