15 million of hectares of forest devastated: this is how the agrobusiness destroys the Parana Basin

Entry type: Single project

Country/area: Mexico

Publishing organisation: Data Crítica, Hina Paraguay, El País

Organisation size: Small

Publication date: 2022-10-16

Language: Spanish



Aristides Ortiz is a journalist based in Paraguay and founder of Hina, Gibran Mena is a data journalist and writer based in Mexico and cofounder of Data Crítica, Fernanda Aguirre is a data analyst at Data Crítica, Cecilia Rojas is journalist and editor at El País and Nacho Catalán is an infographist at El País.

Project description:

Through the use of satellite imagery and AI powered platforms we discovered that in the last 20 years the soy industry, presented as a solution to climate crisis because of links to veganism and the meat industry also, devastated a forest are almost equal to the whole Uruguay in the second largest river ecosystem of the Americas.

Impact reached:

The area devastated discovered through the data analysis of our investigation is such that we proved it had a direct impact in the worst drought of the Paraná River, the second largest river ecosystem after the Amazon, in 77 years.

Techniques/technologies used:

We traced a geojson manually from old pdfs that depicted the area of interest shared by three countries: Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay, and then we uploaded this geojson to Global Forest Watch for analyzing through their AI powered databases coming from large universities in the US.

We then analyzed year to year data depicting deforestation and presented it to experts in biology and soils to determine the impact in the drought and added onground reportery.

Context about the project:

This comes as the monoculture business of soy is presenting itself as a solution and an alternative to meat, while the large industries destroying land and resources in the Parana Basin are mainly soy and also corn monocultive, along with the meat areas devastated for beef and other animals used by the meat industry.

What can other journalists learn from this project?

How to harness the power of geoprocessing tools such as Qgis and also online Ai powered platforms suchs as Global Forest Watch and the use of online arcgis to analyze and dimension the extension of devastation due to specific (extractive) industries.

Project links: