Brazil begins first operations to protect the Amazon

Brazil begins first operations to protect the Amazon

An aerial view of a huge piece of land cleared of trees in the eastern Brazilian Amazon.

An aerial view of a huge piece of land cleared of trees in the eastern Brazilian Amazon.

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

On the campaign trail before his election victory in October, when he defeated far-right climate change skeptic Jair Bolsonaro, Lula vowed to end deforestation by 2030.

The Amazon rainforest suffered during the four years of Bolsonaro’s presidency as the former army captain repeatedly enacted laws favoring jungle farming and mining at the expense of that critically important ecosystem. Reducing deforestation is key to curbing climate change.

“The deployment of teams for the start of inspection operations began on January 16, 2023,” Ibama told AFP.

Average deforestation in the Amazon skyrocketed by 75 percent during Bolsonaro’s presidency, compared to the previous decade.

“The environmental team set up by the federal government, since the beginning of the transition period, works to build a plan capable of reversing the deforestation rate of these last months,” added Ibama.

On Wednesday, Lula told the Globo News television channel that he wanted to create a federal police force to “act more strongly” to protect the forests.

Brazil's Amazon rainforest has been badly damaged by forest fires, like this one in the state of Pará in August 2022

Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has been badly damaged by wildfires, like this one in the state of Pará in August 2022.

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

Lula said he would fight deforestation “by any means,” 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 related to the protection of the Amazon.

It also reactivated an Amazon hedge fund that had been frozen since 2019 due to a disagreement between the Bolsonaro government and major donor countries Norway and Germany over how to spend the money.

And Lula revoked a Bolsonaro decree that authorized mining exploitation in indigenous areas and protected areas.

© 2023 AFP

Citation: Brazil Begins First Operations to Protect the Amazon (January 20, 2023) Accessed January 20, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-brazil-amazon.html

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