Thursday, April 20, 2017

Brazilian MPs Bid to Cut Protections for One Million Hectares of Forest

As deforestation spirals out of control, bills to be voted on by Congress would roll back protections on area of forest the size of Jamaica

São Joaquim National Park (Photo: Rafael Barbizan) Click to Enlarge.
A committee of Brazil’s Congress has approved proposals to roll back protections on 1.1 million hectares of forest and national park.

Lawmakers with links to mining and agriculture interests amended two government bills to open up even more land for exploitation, in a move that environmentalists say jeopardises the country’s climate change goals.

It amounts to “a licence to clear-cut”, warned Roberto Cabral, head of the government’s environmental protection agency’s elite deforestation-fighting unit.

“When you have a protected area, people may invade it to hunt and steal from it, but they will never clear-cut it because they know they won’t get property rights.  When you trim down one of those areas, you are signalling to people on the ground that none of them is untouchable anymore.”

Two pieces of legislation target sections of Jamanxim National Forest, the Serra do Cachimbo Ecological Station, São Joaquim National Park, Jamanxim National Park, neighboring the National Forest, and Trairão II National Forest.  They need to pass a plenary vote in Congress before being adopted.

Environment minister José Sarney Filho put forward the plan to trim Jamanxim National Forest as an amnesty on squatters already occupying the space.  The government could not afford to pay the compensation that would be needed to evict them, he argued.

Read more at Brazilian MPs Bid to Cut Protections for One Million Hectares of Forest

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