News from Radio Sudamericana:
Deputies request that the ICAA investigate Harvard’s property in the Iberá Wetlands
A resolution officially requests that the Corrientes Institute of Water and Environment (ICAA – Instituto Correntino del Agua y del Ambiente) issue a report on the environmental degradation being caused by pine and eucalyptus plantations owned by Harvard University in the Iberá Wetlands.
Corrientes Deputy Manuel Sussini, from the political party Compromiso Correntino, suggested the initiative after a report was published in a national newspaper on October 27. Sussini made the proposal following protests by Harvard students, alumni, and professors. The draft will be considered during the 22nd session of the Chamber of Deputies.
According to a student-written report, Harvard owns more than 87,000 hectares of land in the Corrientes province. Two companies, Las Misiones and EVASA, manage industrial pine and eucalyptus plantations on the land for the university. The plantations generate profits from the sale of lumber, which help finance the university’s research and education activities.
The university is in charge of a $32 billion endowment, which is invested by the Harvard Management Company (HMC). In recent years, HMC paid $55.2 million for both local companies. The Pérez Companc family owned Las Misiones until 2002, when an American-citizen, Douglas Tompkins, bought it. Harvard then purchased the company through an intermediary investment fund, and it currently owns 100% of both companies’ shares.
According to the student-written study, Harvard has expanded its plantations into the Iberá Provincial Nature Reserve into areas where it should not be permitted and into nearby community lands. Additionally, the study noted that the plantations have reduced biodiversity, changed birds’ migratory patterns, and led to the loss of many plant species. Many of these environmental changes are caused by the trees’ intense consumption of water, which causes surrounding wetlands to disappear. The roads carrying lumber out of the fields also damage the roads.
Original Post: http://www.corrientes24hs.com.ar/?p=7035