Pressures build on Amazon jungle
The Amazon is not just a precious resource for Brazil but for the entire world, and the year ahead
seems likely to produce important indications of what the future holds for this vast rainforest.
In the past 40 years, close to 20% of the Amazon has been cut down.
Land cleared for cattle is the leading cause of deforestation, while the growth in soya bean
production is becoming increasingly significant. Illegal logging is also a factor.
Deforestation and forest fires are now responsible for nearly 75% of Brazil’s greenhouse gas
In December, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said there had been a 10% increase
in deforestation between August and November 2007 and announced a range of measures to try
to stem this.
The president signed a decree imposing fines for buying or trading goods such as beef or soya
planted illegally on deforested properties.
In recent years the government says it has carried out numerous inspections, seized more
than one million cubic metres of wood, cancelled thousands of land registrations and arrested
hundreds of people, as well as creating large conservation areas.
At the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Bali, Indonesia, Brazil also announced
the creation of a voluntary fund to protect the Amazon, due to be launched in 2008.
On a broader international front, it was also agreed at Bali that forest conservation would be
included in discussions about a future agreement on global warming.
The new measures may be a sign of growing government concern, and it will only become
clear in the months ahead just how effective they will prove to be in the struggle to protect the
Environmental groups, while welcoming the government’s efforts, say the response is simply
not good enough.
“We have a national plan to fight deforestation that, historically, was a good plan on paper but
lacked implementation both due to political will and due to resources. Although the government
could celebrate in recent years a decrease in deforestation, the fact is that structurally this didn’t
change. The environment ministry still lacks funding. You still have situations where the police
don’t have a helicopter to fly over a certain area or there is no fuel in the truck to go to verify
if an area is being deforested or not. You still have a problem with availability of maps,” said
Marcelo Furtado, campaigns director for Greenpeace in Brazil.
All the items below are responsible for the deforestation, Except:
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