Article: Guatemalan Army Unit to Protect Biosphere Reserve

GUATEMALA CITY – A new Guatemalan army contingent known as the “green battalion” has begun operations to protect a national park in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, a vast tropical forest area in the northern province of El Peten.

Guatemalan armed forces spokesman Rony Urizar told a local radio station Friday that the military contingent – created in late August by President Alvaro Colom to fully recover all the protected zones of El Peten – is made up of 250 specially trained soldiers.

Urizar said the contingent will protect the Laguna del Tigre National Park and work jointly with the National Civil Police and the Attorney General’s Office…read more.

Article: Central America Taps Volcanoes for Electricity

The following excerpt is from a September 21, 2010 article published by Reuters.  To read the article in its entirety, click here.

(Reuters) – Dotted with active volcanoes, Central America is seeking to tap its unique geography to produce green energy and cut dependence on oil imports as demand for electricity outstrips supply.

Sitting above shifting tectonic plates in the Pacific basin known to cause earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, the region has huge potential for geothermal power generated by heat stored deep in the earth.

Geothermal power plants, while expensive to build, can provide a long-term, reliable source of electricity and are considered more environmentally friendly than large hydroelectric dams that can alter a country’s topography.

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Article: Guatemala Says it Will Suspend Goldcorp Mine

The following excerpt is from a June 25, 2010 article published by the Vancouver Sun.  To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

The Guatemalan government said it would suspend mining at Goldcorp Inc.’s Marlin mine in response to concerns raised about the company’s environmental and human rights performance.

But Goldcorp, which denies the allegations, says the suspension process will take time and for now the mine is operating and expects to continue operating.

The allegations — which include drying up and contaminated water sources, negative health effects and a lack of prior consent to the mining — were brought by 18 local Mayan communities to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, a branch of the Organization of American States.

Last month, the IACHR asked Guatemala to shut down the mine until it had time to look into the merits of the complaints…

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Article: Scientists Help Protect Guatemala's Lake Atitlan

The following excerpt is from a June 23, 2010 article published by redOrbit.com.  To view the article in its entirety, please click here.

Work to augment efforts to clean and protect lake and drinking water from harmful algae blooms.

A team of scientists from the University of Nevada, Reno, DRI, Arizona State University and University of California, Davis has returned from a two-week expedition to Guatemala’s tropical high-mountain Lake Atitlan, where they are working to find solutions to the algae blooms that have assailed the ecosystem and the drinking water source for local residents.

The lake’s water is contaminated with watershed runoff and waste water, which contributes to increased algae growth and suitable conditions for bacteria and pathogens such as, Escherichia coli and Giardia that can proliferate and enter untreated drinking water.

In 2009, the Global Nature Fund designated Guatemala’s Lake Atitlan as its “Threatened Lake of the Year.”

“It was super-productive working with Guatemalan officials, scientists and universities in our capacity building project,” Sudeep Chandra, co-team leader from the University of Nevada’s Department of Natural Resources said. “It’s important to develop a relationship with the locals to coordinate conservation work and build their capacity to find solutions.”…

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Article: Scientists Use Calvin Klein Cologne to Lure Jaguars

The following excerpt is from a June 9, 2010 article published by Reuters.  To read the article in its entirety, please click here.
GUATEMALA CITY
Wed Jun 9, 2010 2:07pm EDT

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – Biologists tracking jaguars in the Guatemalan jungle might smell nice but it’s all in the name of science, with researchers finding the Calvin Klein cologne Obession for Men attracts big cats.

Biologists Rony Garcia and Jose Moreira from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Jaguar Conservation Program say they use hidden cameras as a primary source for observing and tracking jaguars in the Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve.

But they also rely on Obsession for Men, a cologne known for its complex scent, to help lure then research and hopefully ultimately preserve jaguars in the Central American country.

Click here to read the rest of the article.  I truly have no idea how to categorize this one, but let’s call it environment.

Article: Central America Coffee Land to Shrink as Globe Warms

The following excerpt is from a May 19, 2010 article published by Reuters.  To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

SAN LUCAS TOLIMAN, Guatemala, May 19 (Reuters) – Mexico and Central America could lose around a third of land suitable to grow coffee as global warming hurts conditions for the best quality beans, a study of regional farms shows.

Specialty arabica coffee, the pride of countries like Guatemala, grows inside a very narrow band of altitude and temperature making it particularly sensitive to small changes in the climate.

At the current rate temperatures are rising, there could be at least a 30 percent net loss in land suitable to farm coffee in Mexico and Central America by 2050 forcing many farmers to turn to different crops, said Peter Laderach, a lead researcher at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture…

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Article: Guatemalan Wildlife at the Mercy of Traffickers

The following excerpt is from a May 16, 2010 article published by IPS News.  To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

GUATEMALA CITY, May 16, 2010 (Tierramérica) – The shortage of resources for law enforcement and high demand from the wealthy countries of the North have left the field wide open in Guatemala for trafficking of wild animals, many of which are endangered, warn experts and environmentalists.

The region of Guatemala most affected by species trafficking is the northern province of Petén, bordering Mexico, where the government declared a 2.1-million-hectare site a protected area in a bid to optimise conservation and restore devastated flora and fauna.

Petén has an area of 35,854 square kilometres and is home to one of the largest tropical forests in the Americas, in addition to numerous archaeological sites of the indigenous Maya culture.

Although there are control systems in place there, Julio Madrid, delegate from the National Council of Protected Areas (CONAP) in Petén, acknowledged that it is a difficult task because there are just 300 rangers for the entire forest…

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Article: Volcanic Ash Hinders Guatemalan Air Traffic

The following excerpt is from an April 30, 2010 article published by Earth Times.  To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

Guatemala City – Guatemala restricted air traffic Thursday because of ash clouds being spewed by two volcanoes in the Central American country.

The Fuego volcano near the city of Antigua Guatemala had begun erupting Guatemala City – Guatemala restricted air traffic Thursday because of ash clouds being spewed by two volcanoes in the Central American country.

The Fuego volcano near the city of Antigua Guatemala had begun erupting…

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Article: Guatemala Regulates Whale-Watching in Pacific Waters

The following excerpt is from a March 28, 2010 article published by the Latin American Herald Tribune.  To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

GUATEMALA CITY – Guatemalan environmentalists and authorities launched a campaign Friday to regulate whale- and dolphin-watching in the country’s Pacific waters in order to preserve these species and make sure they thrive.

“With this move we begin putting into practice the regulation of touristic cetacean-watching, which is part of a conservation strategy to use them in a non-lethal manner,” Claudia Molina, spokeswoman for the National Council of Protected Areas, or Conap, told Efe.

The initiative is a combined effort by Conap, the Guatemalan Tourism Institute, the Marine Biology Association and the MonteCarlo Verde Foundation to guarantee the safety of whales and dolphins.

Between November and March, dozens of immense whales swim along the Pacific coastline of Central America, and Guatemala has promoted the whales as a tourist attraction.

The whale-watching regulation, Molina said, is part of this country’s position as a member of the International Whaling Commission, which supports “the non-lethal use of cetaceans.” …

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Article: Shrimp And Lobster Disappearing Fast

The following excerpt is from a March 11, 2010 article published by Red Orbit.  To read the article in its entirety, please click here.

Central American shrimp and lobster populations are being threatened by illegal fishing and climate change, experts said on Thursday.

The decline of such species is a huge impact on the two-billion-dollar-a-year fishing industry and could affect as many as 136,000 jobs.

“Pollution and warmer waters are impacting our species,” especially shrimp and lobster, said Mario Gonzalez, director of the Central American Organization of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Sectors (OSPESCA).

Members of the Central American Integration System, which includes El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Panama, have recently banned lobster fishing from March 1 to June 30 with the hope it will give the species a chance to make a comeback, officials said…

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