Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Brazil calls in the Army to prevent deforestation

It has been evident for a while that for all the recent publicity about carbon sinks,climate change and tree planting, that the economic realities on the ground for thousands of impoverished Brazilians would hold sway.

It is interesting to see that part of the blame for the increased rate of deforestation can be laid squarely at "economics'" door.

Surely no one canbe surprised by the lastest deforestation figures:

Brazil's Army to Help Combat Amazon Destruction [PlanetArk]

Brazilian officials said Amazon destruction had surged during the last five months of 2007. Deforestation rose from 94 square miles (243 sq km) in August to 366 square miles (948 sq km) in December.

The more interesting development is to attempt to link deforestion to the actual economic causes. Now, in theory, the large US and other multinationals will be bought to book:
Additionally, companies like trading houses, soybean crushers and meat processors that buy commodities originating from destroyed areas of the forest will be considered responsible for deforestation.

So why is economics to blame?
Environment Minister Marina Silva said the recent rise in commodity prices may have contributed to the stepped-up pace of deforestation.

Some final sobering statistics:
From August to December last year, 1,250 square miles (3,235 sq km) of the Amazon forest, known as "the lungs of the world" for its ability to consume greenhouse gases and produce oxygen, were destroyed, according to the government.

This figure is expected to double when higher resolution satellite images are analyzed.


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