Conservation

Problems enforcing Ecuador ecology law

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Ecuador has more species per unit area than any other country, a unique ecology that is now uniquely protected under its constitution. But upholding these highly commendable conservation policies is a challenge.

For example, a landmark legal precedent was set in a lawsuit brought in early 2011 against the local government for damages to the Vilcabamba River caused by a road-construction project. The defendant was ordered to pay for recuperation of the river. One year on, there has still been no substantial remediation (see go.nature.com/6m4aea).

In light of this situation, we are concerned that the imminent strip mining in southern Ecuador of gold and copper ore worth US$200 billion could put a serious strain on the country's legal system and its environmental policies.

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Correspondence to Kelly Swing.

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Swing, K., Sempértegui, L. Problems enforcing Ecuador ecology law. Nature 491, 40 (2012) doi:10.1038/491040c

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