Brazil Scrambles to Respond to Spike in Deforestation
Posted on May 20, 2011
Following a period that saw “the lowest level of deforestation in the history of Amazonia,” Brazilian plant life and all things dependent upon it met a sudden reversal of fortune when slash-and-burn practices in the rain forest increased 27 percent over the past winter. The Brazilian government has convened a “crisis cabinet” and sent hundreds of protection officers to investigate and enforce environmental law.
Environmentalists blame the deforestation surge, measuring 244 square miles, on recent changes in rules governing land use in the country’s forested regions that farmers are exploiting in order to produce crops such as soy for profit. —ARK
On Wednesday, Brazil’s environment minister Izabella Teixeira announced the creation of a “crisis cabinet” to crackdown on illegal logging in the world’s largest tropical rainforest, after satellites registered a 27% hike in Amazon deforestation between August 2010 and April this year compared with the previous year.
... But many environmentalists are convinced it is linked to an ongoing and highly controversial debate over changes to Brazil’s forest code that Amazon farmers and ranchers hope will enable them to expand their properties, and boost economic development.
Under the new proposals, the amount of rainforest that Amazon landowners are required to protect, currently set at 80%, could be reduced.
Flickr / leoffreitas
Downed trees litter a wrecked forest in the northeastern Brazilian state of Para.