Opening Pandora's Locks

Will Panama's planned widening of the famed interocean canal spell ecologic trouble?

By Andrea Gawrylewski


1 "Many EIAs are laughably superficial," writes Laurence. He cites a case involving a proposed apartment complex that would require clearing of forests. Surveyors hired by developers identified 12 bird species in the area, but when experienced bird-watchers conducted a two-hour census of the same area, they identified 121 bird species, many endangered or rare. The project was approved anyway.

STRI researchers are trying to come up with the best plan for replanting some already cleared areas edging the canal to compensate for the increased runoff and erosion caused by deforestation. The canal infrastructure itself is vulnerable to heavy rainfall events. Jefferson Hall runs a replanting experiment on the hills bordering Soberania National Park, 15 miles northwest of Panama City. He is examining which species - both native and non-native...

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