Mayor flooding in Salta, Argentina due to deforestation


In the face of serious events over the last few days, following the rise of the river Tartagel which caused severe damage and is now public knowledge, The Salteno Forum for Land wants to make public the following considerations:

Declaration of Via Campesina Argentina

In the last few days, public declarations from officials – national as well as provincial – alluded to the reasons of the catastrophe as attributable to natural causes and as unforeseeable. This was an attempt to dissociate what happened from human activity and the lack of prevision and control from the authorities.

We are aware that the serious human and material damage happened in the last few days and, in turn recurrent in recent years correspond to a great variety and complexity of causes, from land geomorphologic characteristics in the region, summer precipitation and other causes that could be understood as attributable to nature. But, to try and dissociate logging, exploitation of the forest, exploration and drilling conducted in the area by oil companies from human activity is both rash and irresponsible.

The expansion of the agricultural border occurring in the last few years, the so reported deforestation and the lack of all control by environmental authorities and provincial ministers (more in the 12 years of the previous management than the current mandate) can’t be all together ignored in the analysis of the causes of these catastrophes which harm a population that, at the best of times, finds itself immersed in poverty, this was recently recognised by the President on her visit to the affected area.

The Forest Sanction of 2007 was of little use, without a set date and, referring to the province of Salta, it couldn’t stop the enormous number of hectares authorised for clearing in the zone. On the contrary, at the end of last year the Salta legislature sanctioned the Territorial Legislation of Native Forest (previously announced by Governor Urtubey) openly disregarding the participative process and legalising criteria that convert it into an instrument in favour of environmental deterioration.

If the mentioned law is passed, the serious events over the last few days will only touch on the effects of environmental damage that will become deeper in our province.
We know that the clearing and the extraction continue in the province. We know that illegal logging exists and that there are no effective measures to prevent them, but we also know of the fight and resistance of the original towns and of the peasant communities.

As a result, the action presented in the National Supreme Court resulted in the dictation of a way to protect and suspend the forest clearing in the province and order the realization of a public audience in Buenos Aires next 18th February, where affected communities will be able to raise, before the whole court, the issue of the serious damage that the logging of native forest causes.

From Salta Forum for Land we sympathise with the town of Tartagel and the serious damage they’ve suffered, and we appeal to the conscience of the population and of the authorities so that they face the problem responsibly, seriously and they put forth necessary actions to prevent similar catastrophes from happening in the future.

E- mail: