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Paraguay makes headlines in Germany for its drug trade and barbecue charcoal. But few know about the sad remnant of forests that have an unprotected conservation status in Paraguay: They are cut down for marijuana and burnt to make barbecue charcoal. The impact on their own and the world's climate is devastating.

In several episodes we report on these connections between deforestation and its consequences in Paraguay.

Part 2: Illegal deforestation

Illegal logging for timber and expansion of agricultural land threatens at least four protected areas of the Atlantic Rainforest in eastern Paraguay. According to a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), a total of 9,107 hectares have been deforested in these four reserves since 2004, of which at least 2,350 hectares are being used as marijuana plantations.

Due to the alarming indications, also from Global Forest Watch, a team from the Paraguayan daily newspaper La Nación and Mongabay Latam travelled to the San Rafael, Mbaracayú, Parque Caazapá and Campos Morombí reserves. They discovered around 2,350 hectares of illegal plantations in these areas. Aldo Benitez has reported on this in detail. Patrols by NGOs with state authorities (especially the Ministry of Environment MADAS) also document illegal slash-and-burn and logging, such as in the San Rafael reserve.


Deforestation of the tropical rainforest in Paraguay from 2001 to 2018 in hectares by region.

Deforestation of the tropical rainforest in Paraguay from 2001 to 2018 in hectares by region.


In addition to the deforestation caused by illegal logging and slash-and-burn agriculture, there was an extreme drought disaster with severe fires in 2020. Read more about this in the next part.

Why Pro Cosara needs your support

PRO COSARA conducts patrols with government bodies to control slash-and-burn and illegal logging. We urgently need your help in controlling these illegal activities and in reforestation after the devastating fire. Check out our profile page to learn more about our work.


Illegal logging in the San Rafael reserve in 2020

Illegal logging in the San Rafael reserve in 2020


Slash-and-burn in the San Rafael reserve in 2020

Slash-and-burn in the San Rafael reserve in 2020