People, Environment

Deforestation Up 57% in Brazil's Forest

Deforestation  Up 57% in  Brazil's ForestDeforestation  Up 57% in  Brazil's Forest

A report by SOS Mata Atlantica and the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais shows that between 2015 and 2016, more than 29,000 hectares of native forests were lost, marking a 57.7% increase over the previous year.  Almost three quarters of Brazil’s population live in the Atlantic Forest area. Centuries of colonization and development have dramatically reduced its range, which today extends over less than 15% of its original extension, Mongabay reported. Despite this, it is one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots and hosts many endemic and endangered species. Although the Atlantic Forest extends over 17 Brazilian states, four of them account for 90% of the losses—Bahia, Minas Gerais, Parana and Piaui. Recent changes in legislation and expansion of agribusiness are noted in the report as the main drivers of deforestation. “Deforestation increased due to the new Forest Code, which was passed by the rural bench [the parliamentary lobbying group for agribusiness],” Mario Mantovani, director of public policies at SOS Mata Atlantica, said.  “They created a slew of mechanisms to pass amnesties, to decrease protection for water springs and river margins … Everybody thought they could do whatever they wanted in Brazil regarding deforestation.”


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