According to the Brazilian Environment Ministry, the deforestation of the Amazonian forest have slowed down by 25 percent in Brazil in 2006 from 2005.
Mr. Luiz Inacio da Silva, the President of Brazil, stated that preserving the environment doesn’t need to slow the economic growth as the latest statistics showed.
I will tackle more in depth this event as it is indeed good news for both sustainable development and climate change mitigation.
The International Herald Tribune provides us an interesting insight of the situation.
On Friday, the Environment Ministry announced the Amazon lost a total of 14,000 square kilometers (5,400 square miles) of forest cover between August 2005 and July 2006, 25 percent less than the same period the year before.
Environmental officials said they expect deforestation to drop by about a third in the August 2006-July 2007 period, to about 9,600 square kilometers (3,700 sq. miles).
Brazil’s economy grew by 3.7 percent last year.
Environment Minister Marina Silva, who is not related to the president, joined Silva on his radio address and attributed the drop largely to increased government enforcement of Brazil’s strict environmental laws.
However, a lot of things still have to be done. The World Wild Fund for Nature hence stated the following :
“The decline in the deforestation rate is positive, but we still don’t have a policy for the Amazon to address conservation and development,” said Denise Hamú, CEO of WWF-Brazil.
“Brazil needs clear reduction goals. It remains to be seen whether the government really wants to keep this trend and reach levels of deforestation near zero.”
A zero per cent deforestation could prove challenging considering Brazil’s Growth Acceleration Programme, an initiative by the Brazilian government to accelerate economic activity through increased public sector investment, particularly in infrastructure projects such as roads and dams.
Brazil has the largest part of the largest rainforest in the world. The Amazon forest is roughly four million square miles and approximately 20 percent have already been cut down.
According to the IPCC report released this year, mitigating climate change will need stopping deforestation in a first time and then afforestation, ie. planting trees.
The International Herald Tribune released yesterday an interesting article on this subject in its Business of Green blog. This explains that there are more to forests than carbon sinks. Further carbon dioxide emissions result from cuts as the soil is barren.
For those facts, deforestation has to be fought as much as greenhouse gases emissions. To read out more on this topic, please check the link below.
- WWF page: Amazon deforestation rates significantly down; WWF urges tighter forest policies ;
- IHT article : Brazil’s president says preserving environment does not impede economic growth.
Further reading from the Business of Green blog from the International Herald Tribune :