People, Environment

Brazil to Cut Forest Protection Programs

Brazil to Cut Forest Protection ProgramsBrazil to Cut Forest Protection Programs

A committee of Brazil’s Congress has approved proposals to roll back protections on 1.1 million hectares of forest and national park.

Lawmakers with links to mining and agriculture interests amended two government bills to open up even more land for exploitation, in a move that environmentalists say jeopardizes the country’s climate change goals, Climate Home reported.

It amounts to “a license to clear-cut”, warned Roberto Cabral, the head of the government’s environmental protection agency’s elite deforestation-fighting unit.

“When you have a protected area, people may invade it to hunt and steal from it, but they will never clear-cut it because they know they won’t get property rights. When you trim down one of those areas, you are signaling to people on the ground that none of them is untouchable anymore.”

Two pieces of legislation target sections of Jamanxim National Forest, the Serra do Cachimbo Ecological Station, Sao Joaquim National Park, Jamanxim National Park near the National Forest and Trairao II National Forest. They need to pass a plenary vote in Congress before being adopted.

Environment Minister Jose Sarney Filho said he would ask for a presidential veto if they get full parliamentary approval.

Amazon deforestation has increased almost 60% over the last two years, in the teeth of Brazil’s worst recession on record. The rise follows years of progress in curbing illegal logging and land clearance.

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