Brazil sets up special environmental police force to fight deforestation increases
Named the National Environmental Security Force, the unit is operated jointly by armed forces, federal police, the National Public Security Force and the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), the latter a division of Brazil’s Environment Ministry.
The ministry claimed that, despite a 46 percent decline in deforestation in September compared to August, the massive surge of 140 percent in deforestation during the month of August compared to the previous month demands a response.
Some of the deforestation is due to drought related to warming temperatures; however, increased mining, illegal logging and land grabbing are also major factors. Many environmentalists argue that the new and controversial Forest Code – which is set on reducing punishments for deforestation by landowners – may also be an important factor in the August figures when 522 square kilometers of the Amazon were cleared..
According to the Brazilian Environment Minister, Izabella Teixeira: “environmental crime is becoming more sophisticated; to fight it, we are modernizing our system of control.”
Most of the forest clearance happened in the states of Para (44%) in Eastern Amazonia and in Mato Grosso (40%) to the Southwest.
Source: Brazilian Government, Epoch Times and Mongabay