by Charlie Howe (MLA ’10)
World Wildlife Fund lists the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest as one of the worlds most diverse. It is, also, one of the most threatened. At the juncture of Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil this sub-tropical forest offers inexpensive land to subsistence farmers, cattle ranchers, and large soy producers. “Colonists understand the ecological function of the forest though they continue to clear land both for profit and survival,” explained 2009 winner Charlie Howe, who recently returned from nine weeks of travel in rural Paraguay.
Charlie visited five of the newest subsistence settlements in Paraguay’s Atlantic Forest. He photographed these frontier settlements, living with the newly arrived colonists.” Life is not easy in new farm colonies, but with rich soil and plenty of raw resources there is a sense of optimism.” This investigation comes at a precarious time in the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest with virgin tracts nearly exhausted.