Argentina’s Gran Chaco forest is being razed for soya, ending up in Europe as animal feed, and on our plates. It’s the backbone of Argentina’s fragile economy, but has come at a price for the indigenous people who live there
The extent of the destruction is painful to see. Flying over the area around the El Corralito indigenous community in a single-propeller plane, only thin strips of green are left between vast fields of pale, newly uncovered earth, pencilled in with parallel white lines of the ashes of bulldozed trees.
Only a few years ago, this stretch of land in Argentina’s northern province of Salta was still forest – home to the Wichí people, and part of the gigantic Gran Chaco forest that spreads across northern Argentina and its neighbouring countries Bolivia, Paraguay and Brazil. Second only to the Amazon in South America for its size and biodiversity, the Gran Chaco covers 250,000 sq miles of dry forest, which is being cut down faster than scientists can study it.