Michael Morgan 0

Save Cerro Blanco's Quebrada Canoa from HOLCIM

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Dear Sirs: We are writing you to solicit your help in trying to prevent a thoughtless assault on nature. The Cerro Blanco Protected Forest consists of 6000 hectares of tropical dry forest in various stages of succession and is home to 238 species of birds, over 30 species of mammals and more than 700 species of vascular plants. It is considered part of the Tumbesian Eco-region, a biological hotspot for endemism. Cerro Blanco is administered by the Fundación Pro-Bosque, an Ecuadorian Non Governmental Organization who for their part sponsored the Swiss multinational HOLCIM who are dedicated to making cement. However there are two Cerro Blancos; one which is the 6000 hectares of legally protected forest and then there is the Cerro Blanco that the public visits. We are concerned about the second Cerro Blanco centered on the Quebrada Canoa. It is a ravine with a perennial freshwater stream and a complex of pools. A year round water source is important in a seasonally dry forest. The ravine supports Jaguar, Capchucin Monkeys and the Great Green Macaw of Guayaquil, a species that is critical danger of extinction. Cerro Blanco supports at least on group of 10 birds of a wild population of less than 50. During the last few years, species of wildlife that were absent from the forest such as the Pale Mandibled Aracari have returned. Other species such as Capuchin Monkeys, Collared Peccaries and Jaguar, formerly found deep within the forest have come down to the lower parts of Cerro Blanco. This is due to the diligent efforts of the ProBosque Park guards, to pursue hunters, put out forest fires and reforest degraded areas with native tree species. Unfortunately, HOLCIM has plans to convert this Cerro Blanco into sacks of cement. They plan to expand their existing quarry east up to and beyond Quebrada Canoa. They will destroy something that at least sentimentally that belongs to the people of Guayaquil and by extension all Ecuadorians without distinction of social status. This Cerro Blanco, the one open to the public, consists of 2 square kilometers of trails and infrastructure. It is easily accessible by bus and car. Since 1989 thousands of visitors have enjoyed Cerro Blanco; students participating in environmental education activities, families enjoying a hike and a picnic, individuals contemplating nature. It is visited by Ecuadorians and foreigners alike. Birdwatchers particularly like to visit. Many scientists have performed research here, There is a word for this awful plan and it is called greed. It is not the case that this is the last bit of limestone owned by HOLCIM ECUADOR. They still have extensive holdings to the west of Cerro Blanco. Nor are there suitable areas for a relocation. It is not like we are asking them to go out of business. We even recognize the good they have done by financing Fundación ProBosque and creating the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest. We are asking them to spare Quebrada Canoa. We donâ

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