14th December 2011Source: The Ecologist
The new Brazilian Forest Code proposes to relax land regulation in the Amazon rainforest which will increase logging, cattle ranching and other destructive activities. Tell President Dilma to veto the decision before it is too late
The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest tropical rainforest covering half of Brazil. It has been described as the lungs of our planet producing about 20 per cent of the world’s oxygen and may house half of all plant and animal species.
More than 20 per cent of the Amazon has been destroyed or deforested for cattle ranches, mining operations, logging or agriculture. Dating back to 1965, the Brazilian Forest Code restricts the amount of forest that can be cleared, establishes general regulations of land use, and determines valid areas for farming and timber exploitation. A New Forest Code agreed by the Brazilian Senate last week (6th December) could see regulation relaxed, opening up an additional 55 million hectares, the size of France, for logging, cattle ranching and other destructive activities. Additionally, it creates an amnesty for illegal deforestation that occurred prior to 2008.
The mandate came about amidst the United Nations climate talks in Durban where Brazilian delegates agreed to a 2020 target to cut its green house gas emissions by 40 per cent and reduce deforestation levels in the Amazon by 80 per cent (from a 1996-2005 baseline). Many environmental groups, such as Greenpeace and the WWF see the New Forest Code as undermining global efforts to combat climate change and regressive to Brazil’s environmental achievements.
There is still hope. The mandate must be passed to and accepted by President Dilma Rousseff. Greenpeace have set up a campaign to urge president Dilma to veto the New Forest Code and to 'protect this irreplaceable resource.’