Rate of deforestation increases in the Amazon and elsewhere

By Paul Robinson - 17 Nov 2013 8:0:0 GMT
Rate of deforestation increases in the Amazon and elsewhere

As the Amazonian bush dog Speothos venaticus venaticus plays in the river, we have to ensure this remarkable canine can continue to hunt in the forests of the central Amazon; Speothos image; Credit: © Shutterstock

13 years of bad luck for the Amazon. Now that satellites can see though the lies of governments, the clear view we are afforded is that 28% more forest (5,800 square km or 2239 square miles) has been destroyed in 2012-2013 than in the previous year. People imagine because the Brazilians have slashed deforestation by 80%, the jungle was secure enough. No so! The Amazonian police have been active, but the illegal loggers have been more active. President Dilma Rousseff is held responsible for weakening his forests’ legal protection but his supporters insist that illegal deforestation remains a basic target for positive action.

The reaction of Paulo Adario who fronts the Greenpeace Amazon campaign answers the questions with, “The government can't be surprised by this increase in deforestation, given that their own action is what's pushing it. The change in the Forest Code and the resulting amnesty for those who illegally felled the forest sent the message that such crimes have no consequences.” Much of the deforestation takes place along major government projects like the northern Para and Mato Grosso state highways. Timber can be swiftly removed with such convenient transport links.

Brazil’s demands for funding to prevent deforestation will achieve little if these transgressions can’t be stopped. The giant country is also the 6th in the world in carbon dioxide emissions, equal in forest burning to Indonesia but4 times the size. Emissions in Brazil come mainly from timber industries, but it also enlarges its industrial sector to improve the standard of living for its people.

In other countries, doubling of deforestation like that in Indonesia is still due to illegal logging. Those nations responsible are Côte D’Ivoire, Paraguay, Malaysia and Cambodia in particular, while anybody who flies over Vietnam or Thailand will notice immediately the huge swathes of forest that were lost there, decades ago. The National Parks of the Thai Nan Province, and several others, were subject to illegal logging, despite their protected status. State officials seemed to be the ones to blame. Elsewhere, we can only hope the Indonesian embargo on new logging licences is enforced with much more gusto than the historical example.. Otherwise the bald hills show up on satellite and for everyman on his or her plane.