Brazil begins initial operations to protect Amazon

Brazil begins initial operations to protect Amazon

Brazil begins initial operations to protect Amazon

An aerial view of a vast tract of land in the eastern Amazon of Brazil that has been cleared of trees

An aerial view of a vast tract of land in the eastern Amazon of Brazil that has been cleared of trees.

Brazil this week began the first operations against Amazon deforestation since veteran leftist Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office, environmental agency Ibama said on Friday.

On the campaign trail leading up to his October election victory – when he defeated far-right climate change skeptic Jair Bolsonaro – Lula pledged to end deforestation by 2030.

The Amazon rainforest suffered during Bolsonaro’s four-year presidency, as the former army captain repeatedly enacted legislation that favored forest agriculture and mining at the expense of this vitally important ecosystem. Reducing deforestation is key to slowing climate change.

“The deployment of teams to begin inspection operations began on January 16, 2023,” Ibama told AFP.

Average Amazon deforestation increased 75 percent during Bolsonaro’s presidency compared to the previous decade.

“The environmental team deployed by the federal government has been working since the beginning of the transition period to create a plan capable of reversing the rate of deforestation seen in recent months,” Ibama added.

On Wednesday, Lula told Globo News TV that he wants to create a federal police force to “take stronger action” to protect the forests.

Brazil's Amazon rainforest has been badly damaged by wildfires like this one in Para state in August 2022

Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has been badly damaged by wildfires like this one in Para state in August 2022.

He also said he wants to arrange a meeting with the other South American countries that share the Amazon to discuss a continental conservation policy.

Lula said he will fight deforestation “by any means necessary,” adding, “I’m going to need the armed forces, I’m going to need the federal police.”

Since taking office on January 1, Lula has signed a series of decrees to protect the Amazon.

He also reactivated an Amazon Protection Fund that had been frozen since 2019 due to a disagreement between the Bolsonaro government and major donor countries Norway and Germany over how the money should be used.

And Lula revoked a Bolsonaro decree authorizing the exploitation of mining in indigenous lands and protected areas.

© 2023 AFP

Citation: Brazil begins initial operations to protect Amazon (2023, January 20) Retrieved January 20, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-brazil-amazon.html

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