Brazilian President takes middle road on forests


dilma_rousseff_3_lr.jpgUnder pressure from all sides, the Brazilian President makes some amendments to the proposed controversial new forest law

Yesterday (25.05.12), the Brazilian President – Dilma Rousseff – rejected 12 of 84 articles in a controversial bill promoted by the powerful large-scale agriculture lobby.  The proposed new Forest law aims to relax restrictions on deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. The full implications of her changes will not be known until the details are announced on Monday. 

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Making a decision over the Forest law has provided Rousseff with a dilemma, not least in the lead up to next month’s Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development to be hosted in Brazil.  The proposed new Forest Code was set to grant amnesty for illegal deforestation as well as reduce the amount of forest landowners are obliged to protect.

Jennifer Haverkamp, International Climate Program Director at the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) explained that: “President Rousseff has apparently acceded to Brazilian public opinion in vetoing the most flagrantly irresponsible sections of the ranchers’ Forest Code, but we’re not out of the woods yet ……  what these vetoes really mean for the future of the forest — and whether the law can be effectively enforced — will depend on the specifics of the executive order (Medida Provisória) that the President will issue on Monday.”

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According to Mongabay, the Amazon: “The Brazilian Amazon accounts for more than 60 percent of the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest. The region stores tens of billions of carbon, is home to millions of species, and provides ecosystem services to much of the South American continent – roughly 70 percent of South America’s GDP is produced in areas within the rain shadow of the Amazon. Scientists fear that continued deforestation could reduce the resilience of the Amazon to climate change, potentially tipping much of the ecosystem from rainforest to savanna and diminishing its capacity to generate rainfall.

 Source: Mongabay

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