Deforestation in Brazil

Deforestation in brazil

Deforestation in the Amazonian forest which the main part is located in Brazil remains a complicated issue within environmental problems nowadays; there is a need to discuss all the different elements of this ecological problem. According a report from WWF published in June 2016 called Living Amazon Report, at least 31 ‘deforestation fronts’ represent now a danger to the livelihood of this ‘unique’ forest and the incredible biodiversity that it shelters. This forest has the richest fauna and flora in the world. If the figures are staggering, we can though see a very slight drop in deciphering thanks to actions from organisations especially that aimed to protect this natural area. However, this evolution must be nuanced because the fight is far from won as political and economic issues are still relevant. The Brazilian government is aware of that and plays an ambivalent game: it encourages, on the one hand for instance, the deforestation for the benefit of soya culture and on the other hand, it has implemented safeguard measures of the rainforest, under the pressure of international organisations but also at a local level, with the creation of the Ministry of Environment in 1981.

A quick increase in primary activities

There have been questions about the Brazilian sovereignty relating to issues of the forest in the Amazonian basin. The laxity on the part of the government in the face of decryption of parcels in areas where the protection has not been clarified, without talking about its initial policy aiming at encouraging the use of lands in a matter of economic and social development, have raised awareness worldwide and some people have thought about ‘internationalise’ the region in order to protect it.

Needless to say, Brazil does not want to separate from this profitable natural area… The Brazilian government has then decided to have an ambivalent policy. It encourages on one side, the forest exploitation and on the other side, its protection as for example during the United Nations Conference on Environment in 1992. This specific case is quite telling: for this occasion, the forest clearing has dropped but in 1995, the figures indicate an annual forest clearing unprecedented (30.000 km2).

Involved peoples

On this past 30th April, in the region of Maranhão located in the NorthEast of Brazil, native indians called Gamela have been attacked by farmers carrying machetes and firearms. For over 40 years, the tribe is fighting for living in their lands from which they have been banished after the introduction of PIN in 1970. This policy was about dividing the territory between a number of farmers. This type of action, that is not the only one unfortunately, is a good indicator of the Brazilian position around the distribution of lands. It has been done at the expense of indigenous peoples and also of the preservation of the Amazonian area. There are around 350 indigenous peoples that lifestyles are linked directly to the forest. They are endangered with also the massive deforestation. Actions with the help from international organisations are part of the fight for the protection of their living area. These actions have helped created protected areas and indigenous reservations like the reserve Raposa Serra Do Sol, where it has taken 30 years for indigenous peoples to recognise the limits and alienate ilegal farmers. Nevertheless, the battle of ecological activists for the Rights of the Mother Earth is not over and we deplore several death of them, for instance Luiz Alberto Araújo, secretary of the Brazilian Environment. He was involved in various projects of Brazilian nature conservation. He was killed at his home on last 13th October. According to ONG Global Witness, 448 other environmental ecologists have also been assassinated in Brazil from 2002 and 2013. There has been an increase of death since 2015 as 50 activists died.

How to act?

Several organisations act in Brazil.

Planete Amazone fights against the deforestation and support indigenous peoples.

The organisation Aquaverde brings also its support on indigenous peoples in their fight against the deforestation of the Amazonian forest. The organisation Nordesta Reforestation & Éducation leads several projects in rural zones in Brazil from environmental awareness to campaigns of reforestation.

The organisation REGUA aims at protecting the primary forest in the region of the river basin Guapiaçu.

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