The past year has been difficult for much of Latin America: The pandemic has hit the region harder than most, a series of natural and manmade disasters has adversely impacted communities from Honduras to Brazil, and violence is surging. On the environmental front, the pandemic has undercut livelihoods associated with ecotourism and research, environmental law enforcement has waned in some places leading to rampant expansion of illegal activities, deforestation and the incidence of fire is increasing, and environmental defenders and Indigenous communities have been disproportionately the target of rising violence. “The pandemic has been terrible and tragic to people,” Enrique Ortiz, a Peruvian biologist who works at the Andes Amazon Fund philanthropic initiative, told Mongabay during a recent interview. “The pandemic not only brought death but also poverty and pressure on natural resources. Not having other alternatives, lots of people moved from the cities to the fields and the forest. And in times with hardly any enforcement, illegality exploded.” Enrique Ortiz in the Amazon while filming Amazon Gold, a film since rebranded as River of Gold, in Mazuco, Madre De Dios. Photo credit: Herve Cohen But there have also been examples of resilience and hope in the midst of the pandemic, says Ortiz. “We have been quite surprised to see efforts in multiple places where communities and municipalities have not stopped in protecting wilderness in their jurisdictions,” he said. “In Bolivia, for example, close to 3 million hectares have been legally protected in the last few months. A huge Isolated Indigenous…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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