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An interview with Beate

When Columbus came to the Americas, the Atlantic coast was forested deep into the heartland. Today, however, the Mata Atlântica is one of the most threatened tropical forests, with over 90% deforested.
PRO COSARA protects the Cordillera San Rafael, the last major remnant of intra-Atlantic rainforest in Paraguay. We appreciate the opportunity to speak with Beate Pesch, who introduces us to the organization.

Beate Pesch | Pro Cosara e.V.

Dear Beate, please introduce your organization to our readers in a few sentences.

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - was one of the first conservation groups in Paraguay to receive government support. This was our seed money, for example, for park rangers and environmental education work. In 1992, San Rafael was officially placed under protection. However, there is a lack of funds to buy land from private owners to create a national park. Patrols to control the increasing illegal activities such as slash and burn or logging are becoming more and more important. You can read more about this in our last annual report .

The NGO is not only concerned with the preservation of the rainforest, but also with research projects. The book "Field Guide to the Birds of San Rafael" was published in 2017 with support from the Tropical Forest Conservation Fund and government agencies. All proceeds go to PRO COSARA. Currently, our relatives, the monkey families living in San Rafael, are being studied.

How did the idea of your project come about, how did it develop?

Since 1998, I have traveled to Paraguay every year - with the exception of 2020, when I only got as far as Brazil because of Corona. At some point, I came across PRO COSARA on the internet and then set off with friends on a search along dirt roads with red earth. I was impressed by how the founders of PRO COSARA, Christine and Hans, went from being farmers to conservationists and with what commitment they protect this last remnant of rainforest. A long lasting friendship developed with the promise that I will take over the German association PRO COSARA e.V. as soon as my time allows.

What drives you every day, what are you passionate about?

Unfortunately, it burned severely in the strictest sense of the word: On Oct. 1, 2020, a national state of emergency was declared due to an extreme drought. In San Rafael, 30,000 of 73,000 acres have burned. Reforestation is now a high priority. Not only this climate disaster, but also illegal deforestation is a major problem. We need regular and close monitoring of San Rafael. By the way, Paraguay is the second largest supplier of charcoal for the German barbecue after Poland.

Every tree counts in the race against illegal conversion as agricultural land for soy, marijuana or beans in the Cordillera San Rafael!

Pro Cosara

If you had to name in 3 to 4 key words, in which areas you change the world for the better, what would these three words be?

  • Climate
  • Protection of species
  • Natural habitat

Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?

In San Rafael for a donation of 1,000 € we can plant as many trees. With 100 € we can take off for a control flight. Your donations save our last rainforest, the animals living in it and bind a part of the greenhouse gases that humans release worldwide. In return, you will receive oxygen to breathe and support us all in improving the global climate through sustainable conservation.

Pro Cosara

Thank you for these exciting insights. We are happy that we can support you together with the staff! If you want to know more, you can find detailed information here on the website of Pro Cosara.