ATTENTION: ENVIRONMENTAL WRITER (
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, February 15, 2005
CONTACT: Matt Finer, Save
WORLD’S TOP BIOLOGISTS –INCLUDING GOODALL, WILSON, LOVEJOY, PIMM-- SAY NEW OIL ROAD THREATENS ONE OF WORLD’S RICHEST RAINFORESTS
In a letter written to the President and Environment Ministry of Ecuador, some of the world’s most preeminent biologists, including Jane Goodall, E.O. Wilson, Stuart Pimm, Paul Ehrlich, Peter Raven, Gary Meffe, and Tom Lovejoy, called on the Ecuadorian government to prohibit the construction of the proposed Petrobras road. And in a separate letter, seven leading researchers from the Smithsonian Institution called on Petrobras to reconsider its plans to build the new access road into the Park.
“Yasuni may well be the single most biodiverse
forest on earth,” said Stuart Pimm of
“Based on Smithsonian research conducted around the world on trees, mammals, and insects, we can demonstrate that Yasuni is one of the most diverse forests on Earth,” said Elizabeth Losos of the Smithsonian. “We strongly recommend that Petrobras consider a no-road policy to protect the remarkable biodiversity of the area.”
Given its unique location at the intersection of the Andes, the Amazon, and the equator, Yasuní National Park is home to a large stretch of the world’s most diverse tree community, contains the world’s highest known insect diversity, and is among the world’s richest sites for birds, amphibians, and mammals.
emphasize that the no-road option would not limit oil development, but would greatly
minimize the environmental impact to the primary rainforest.
These letters join two other scientific responses issued in recent months in regards to the impacts of the proposed Petrobras road. In January, the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC), the world’s largest scientific organization dedicated to the study and conservation of tropical ecosystems, unanimously passed a resolution calling on the Ecuadorian government to prohibit the construction of the proposed Petrobras road.
“Building a new road in the Amazonian frontier
is like opening Pandora’s Box,” said William Laurance of the Smithsonian
Tropical Research Institution in
Last November, 59 leading neotropical researchers from institutions in 10 different countries (dubbing themselves the Scientists Concerned for Yasuni) wrote a letter to the Presidents of Ecuador, Brazil and Petrobras strongly recommending the proposed road be stopped.
One of them, Dr. Anthony Di Fiore, a researcher from NYU who has been studying primates in Yasuni for 11 years, said “New roads provide hunters with easy access to previously untouched areas. Populations of large monkeys, such as woolly monkeys and spider monkeys, are especially vulnerable to this added pressure.”
“We concluded that the negative impacts caused by new access roads in primary rainforest environments can not be effectively controlled,” said Margot Bass, Executive Director of Finding Species and lead editor of the Scientists Concerned for Yasuni report. “Thus, we strongly recommend that all planned and future oil extraction in Yasuni utilize a roadless “off-shore” model.”
Elaborating on the “off-shore” model, Save
America’s Forests staff ecologist Dr. Matt Finer explained, “We are advocating
for a new policy that treats the primary rainforests of
The Petrobras road would transect the territory of an indigenous Quichua community and would enter the ancestral territory of the Huaorani, the native inhabitants of the Ecuadorian Amazon.
All four letters were delivered this week to
the Ecuadorian Embassy in
The Wilson, Goodall, Pimm, et al. letter was
also submitted to the Chairman and CEO of the
In 1989, in recognition of the