In the 1970’s, when military governments were the norm and funds were made readily available to them, many schemes were developed by those in power to access this money and enrich themselves.
At a time when the price of sugar dropped in the world market because of excessive production (the result of the United States incentive to encourage countries to enter into this industry in order to replace the sugar previously provided by Cuba), the Bolivian government claimed that they were going to establish a sugar refinery in San Buenaventura, one of the most bio-diverse places on earth.
Even though the scheme was unviable, it was greatly publicized and people were encouraged to migrate to the area. Millions of dollars were paid to burn this primary forest and thousands of hectares were destroyed, animals included. This area has become very impoverished grassland, unable to recover, as the soils are almost sterile.
Today, in spite of the defense president Evo Morales does internationally for mother earth, he has funded this project and thousands of hectares of forest are being burned. These are the forests that provide us with extraordinary medicinal plants, precious woods, food, etc. and are the habitat to the most diverse fauna that can be found. The future of these lands, once established with sugar cane, is that they will become sterile as they will quickly become dependent on chemical fertilizers and pest controllers. These chemicals do render soils sterile.