Illegal Clearing on the Rise, Brazil to Increase Monitors in Rain Forest

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Illegal Clearing on the Rise, Brazil to Increase Monitors in Rain Forest
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, left, listens to his Environment Minister Marina Silva (AP Photo/Bruno Peres)
Thursday, Jan. 24, 2008
President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva called for an emergency cabinet meeting at the presidential palace, in which other government representatives, including the Environment Minister Marina Silva, were present to discuss the situation with Brazil’s rain forests. It seems that emergency measures are now required to prevent further deforestation in the Amazon rain forest, the devastation of which was markedly increased in the months concluding calendar year 2007.

Following the meeting, Brazil announced that there would be an increase in federal police presence in the region, as well as greater numbers of environmental agents in the Amazon to monitor illegal deforestation. Their basic mission will be to monitor the areas of recent deforestation, in order to prevent the further planting of crops or grazing of cattle on the newly razed ground.

Why Illegal Deforestation in the Amazon?

The theory originally had it that because the soil of the rain forest is rich in minerals, some people figured it would be a perfect place to grow crops, particularly soy beans. After just a couple of cycles of planting crops and leaving the crop land fallow, cultivators discover that the mineral quality of the soil is drastically reduced from the original levels. This occurs, basically, because of the removal of the rain forest vegetation, whose fallen leaves, increased moisture levels and soil biology was originally what maintained the high nutrient and mineral quality.
2006 File photo released by Agencia Brasil; Para, Brazil. (AP Photo/Marcello Casal, Agencia Brasil)\'
With the rain forest vegetation removed, the soil is reduced to the dramatically lower levels of quality. What’s worse, the farmers who cultivate the deforested land know this, and rather than ceasing to go through with deforestation, instead just pick up and move to a new section of rain forest to start all over again. After a three-year decline in deforestation in Brazil, the cabinet meeting was called to discuss emergency plans to address a newly-discovered reversal in figures.

International Influences on Brazil’s Rain Forest Dilemma

On the international level, it seems that the increase in deforestation and crop cultivation in rain forest lands is at least in part inspired by the increased prices for soy, corn and cattle. The environment minister further addressed concerns, noting that officials will attempt to root out other connected to the fruits of the deforested lands, with ancillary roles including businesses and individuals stemming from over thirty surrounding towns and cities.

With regard to specific numbers, the government has called for a twenty-five percent increase in federal police assigned to the area. Marina Silva noted that if the plan should fail, Brazil “will have an environmental loss and an economic loss.”

Recent Facts on Deforestation

– As many as 2,700 square miles of rain forest had been cleared from August through December
– Brazil could lose 5,791 square miles of jungle by this August if the rate of deforestation continues
– That represents 34 percent increase from the 4,334 square miles of forest cut down and burned August 2006 – July 2007

Copyright 2008 Easy Ways to Go Green
Photo credits / copyright
2008 President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, left, listens to his Environment Minister Marina Silva (AP Photo/Bruno Peres)
2006 File photo released by Agencia Brasil; Para, Brazil. (AP Photo/Marcello Casal, Agencia Brasil)

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