AT RISK! El Campito, Urban Forest in the City of Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
Wednesday, 15 August 2012
The Movement “Salvemos El Campito” (Let’s save El Campito), led by Attorney Ricardo Delestre, has been exposing the detrimental effects that the destruction of this urban forest will have, should the local authorities allow its current owners to destroy 50% of this forest to construct apartment buildings.

Some of the effects of destroying El Campito:

·   - Over 1,000 trees plus other vegetation will be destroyed.
    - The loss of biosequestration of carbon dioxide (the most abundant greenhouse gas!) resulting in an increase to the already huge problem of global warming
  -  Destruction of natural habitat for many life species (loss of bio-diversity)
·         Interruption of natural flow of the Las Tunas/Mendoza Creek
    - Increase of flash floods that will affect residential areas and businesses -     Destruction of a spring and several other bodies of water within this Urban Forest
- Air and water pollution. Destruction of the “lungs” of the urban center of Cabo Rojo
- Erosion and climatic disruption

In the late 15th century, the island of Borikén (Puerto Rico) was described by chroniclers as the island with the thickest forest, from the very shores. It seemed impenetrable! Today, Puerto Rico is 54% urbanized. The preservation rate is that of only 8% vs. the 25% standard in the United States. Every year the islanders are experiencing hotter temperatures, mudslides (some even mortal), and flash floods as they had never been seen before.

El Campito is a 16 acre Urban Forest, considered the “lungs” of the city’s urban center. It’s proximity to the Sports Complex Rebecca Colberg, has made it an extension for sports, such as mountain biking, hiking, etc.. Volunteers preserve the trails while respecting nature. Just recently, neighbors alerted members of the “Salvemos El Campito” Movement, when they saw heavy equipment go in. Sadly, they found many trees cut down, trails blocked with some of the same trees they had cut down and bulldozed-widened trails.

According to Attorney Delestre, the permits were expired, and the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources regulations regarding reforestation had not been followed whatsoever.

The “Salvemos El Campito” Movement,, hasn’t been one to just oppose, but one that has presented viable alternatives to the City of Cabo Rojo, including the acquisition of El Campito, as part of the Sports Complex Rebecca Colberg, promoting healthy lifestyles, ecotourism, agricultural projects, a butterfly haven, while assuring that the Mendoza Creek is not disturbed any more than it already has, for residents in its vicinity have suffered flash floodings that have destroyed everything they owned, some having to be rescued from their rooftops. Many small business owners faced losses as well. The destruction of 50% of El Campito will have a detrimental effect for Cabo Rojo that will be beyond repair. Trees and vegetation layer absorb and serve as a water retention mechanism. Deforestation will almost guarantee a menace of more flash floods. Flora and fauna life forms impacted would be irreplaceable.

We are well aware that deforestation is collaborating to: the extinction of bio-diversity, climatic changes and a global unbalance overall. Half of the forests of the world have been destroyed, most of them within the last 50 years. At this time, it is understood that ANY act of deforestation is frowned upon by the international community and environmentalists, REGARDLESS of the size of the area at risk. The island of Puerto Rico has and is still suffering the effects of reckless deforestation; trees have been sacrificed and exchanged for cement.

This is our plea to you, so that you can join us in preserving the natural beauty and important elements that made the island earn the name of “The island of enchantment”!

Author: Tai Pelli

Note: Send your email, English or Spanish to the Mayor of Cabo Rojo, Hon. Perza Rodriguez,   This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it

Let her know you oppose to more deforestation in Boriken, particularly, El Campito, the Urban Forest of Cabo Rojo, and that you urge her to proactively promote its preservation by pursuing its acquisition.
 
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