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Desforestation in Brazil doubles, in anticipation of an amnesty for illegal logging

Friday, July 1st 2011 - 06:46 UTC
Full article 19 comments
Most of the land has been cleared for wood and to expand agriculture Most of the land has been cleared for wood and to expand agriculture

Deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon, the world’s biggest rain forest, more than doubled last month as farmers become more confident they’ll be granted amnesty for illegal logging.

Almost 268 square kilometres of protected rain forest were cut down in May, up from 110 square kilometres a year ago, the National Institute for Space Research said on Thursday in an e-mailed statement.

Brazil lawmakers are considering a bill that alters its forestry code and would forgive farmers who illegally cleared trees. The possibility that the government may ease these restrictions is encouraging more logging, said Marcio Astrini, coordinator of forest campaigns for Greenpeace International’s Brazil unit.

“Brazil has been reducing its deforestation for the last five years and this bill comes along and now it shoots up” Astrini said. “There is only one reason why deforestation is increasing: it’s called the forestry code,” which may be changing.

The bill was approved by Brazil’s lower house May 24 by a 410-63 vote. The Senate has not yet voted on it and President Dilma Rousseff has vowed to veto the legislation if it does pass.

If the bill is approved in its current form, farmers won’t have to replant trees that were illegally cut prior to July 2008, an estimated 30 million hectares (twice the area of neighbouring Uruguay), according to a study by government research agency Instituto de Pesquisa Economica Aplicada, IPEA. Under Brazil’s current forestry code, penalties for illegal logging include fines and a requirement to replant trees.

Some farmers are stepping up their illicit activities in the hope the government “will hand out further amnesties in the future,” or won’t be able to discern which trees were cut after the 2008 deadline, according to Fabio Alves, a specialist for IPEA.

About 35% of forests cleared in May were in Mato Grosso, Brazil’s biggest soy-producing state, according to Sao Jose dos Campos-based National Institute for Space Research.


Categories: Agriculture, Environment, Brazil.

Top Comments

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  • Humbleman

    That only makes us believe that what they really want is to profit and deceive the government. These farmers should be heavily fined by the government as an example for other farmers who start having the same stupid idea. Logging in this country has always been done in an illegal way and people (Chico Mendes and others) have been murdered because of such activities. I don't stop cutting trees just because there is a law that stops me from doing so: I do so because I know that hurts the environment and consequently human beings will be affected by such stupidity , I do so because I know future generations won't have enough air to breath, I do so because I attended school and I learned that nothing that is a living organism will survive without trees. But the worst is to know that there are people such as city councilors, governors and other crook politicians helping these people. The farmers are not the only ones to be blamed.

    Jul 01st, 2011 - 11:55 am 0
  • GeoffWard2



    We ALL depend, one way or another, on the maintenence of these rainforests.

    In nuclear terms, what Brasil is doing is equivalent to MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction).
    Brasil is undertaking UAAD (Unilaterally Applied Assured Destruction).

    Jul 01st, 2011 - 02:57 pm 0
  • MarkWhelan

    You may stop cutting the rainforest for those reasons.
    The one important point is YOU HAVE NO PROPERTY THERE.
    The pastoralists and farmers do not, and will not, follow your reasoning. They will only stop in 2 cases
    1 There are no more trees to cut.
    2 The penalty for cutting those trees is higher than the money they make from the cleared land.
    The second will NEVER happen in Brasil

    Jul 01st, 2011 - 04:17 pm 0
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