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Posted Wed Aug 4 2010: from Guardian:
Ecuador signs $3.6bn deal not to exploit oil-rich Amazon reserve
Ecuador, home of the Galapagos Islands, the Andes mountain range and vast tracts of oil-rich rainforest, yesterday asked the world for $3.6bn not to exploit the Ishpingo-Tiputini-Tambococha oil block in the Yasuni national park. A knockdown price, it said, considering the oil alone is worth more than $7bn at today's prices. The 407m tonnes of CO2 that would be generated by burning it could sell for over $5bn in the global carbon markets. But neither the oil block nor the park is for sale, and under the terms of a unique, legally binding trust fund set up yesterday by the government and the UN, the oil and the timber in Yasuni will never be exploited. Instead, donor countries, philanthropists and individuals around the world are being invited to pay the money in return for a non-exploitation guarantee.... Conservation groups have been staggered by the biological riches in the park, which is situated at the intersection of the Amazon, the Andes and the equator. It was recently found to have 650 species of tree and shrub within a single hectare - the highest number in the world and more than in the whole of north America. In addition, it has more than 20 threatened mammal species, including, jaguars, otters and monkeys, and several hundred bird species.
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'Doc Michael says:
Yeah, but are any of those trees and shrubs valuable?

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