Brazil adopts plan to boost deforestation in the Amazon

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At a time when scientists are warning of the need to reduce worldwide deforestation in the battle against climate change, the Brazilian government has announced a plan to bring large-scale logging deep into the heart of the Amazon rain forest for the first time.

Noting that Brazil already loses an area the size of New Jersey every year to clear-cutting and timbering, an article in the New York Times says Brazilian officials are taking “a calculated gamble” that new monitoring efforts can offset any danger of increased devastation.

Barely three months ago, the landmark Stern report warned that “The loss of natural forests around the world contributes more to global emissions each year than the transport sector.

“Curbing deforestation is a highly cost-effective way to reduce emissions,” the report said. “Large-scale international pilot programs to explore the best ways to do this should get underway very quickly.”

Instead, the government of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, is to begin auctioning off timber rights to large tracts of the rain forest.

And the called-for monitoring of the loggers allowed into the rain forest’s largely untouched center will come from a new, untested Forest Service with only 150 employees and from state and municipal governments.

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