Monday, January 14, 2008

Pressures build on Amazon jungle

The BBC has a solid summary of stresses on the world’s largest and most important 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 emissions. In the past three years the Brazilian government has celebrated a 59% cut in the rate of deforestation, but there are now signs of problems ahead.

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.

Several hundred federal police are to be sent to the area to help combat environmental destruction, joining more than 1,600 inspectors already there…

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