September 10, 2009
From: Latin American Herald Tribune
The government plans to use satellites to monitor cattle herds in the Amazon and punish ranchers who illegally cut the rainforest, Brazilian Agriculture Minister Reinhold Stephanes said.
Ranchers will be required to place “electronic markers” along the boundaries of their properties that will be monitored via satellite, allowing officials to follow the movement of herds and verify the status of nearby forests every six months.
The markers will allow officials to track the movement of herds in “real time,” Stephanes told the official Agencia Brasil.
The system is being developed by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation, or Embrapa, in association with the main slaughterhouses that export meat.
On-site tests of the new system are slated to start on Jan. 1 in an area spanning 150,000 sq. kilometers (57,915 sq. miles) in southern Para state, the eastern-most region of the Amazon, where 15,000 cattle ranches operate.
Satellite monitoring will be expanded over a period of 18 months to the entire state and later to other parts of the Amazon region and all of Brazil, an Agriculture Ministry spokesman told Efe.
Ranchers found to have cleared rainforest will have their markers removed, preventing them from selling their cattle, Stephanes said. EFE