Brazil begins the first operations to protect the Amazon

Brazil begins the first operations to protect the Amazon

An aerial view of a huge patch of land cleared of trees in the eastern Brazilian Amazon

An aerial view of a huge patch of land cleared of trees in the eastern Brazilian Amazon.

Brazil began this week the first operations against Amazon deforestation since veteran Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva took office, environmental agency Ibama said on Friday.

On the campaign trail before his victory in October’s elections—when he defeated far-right climate change denier Jair Bolsonaro—Lula pledged to end deforestation by 2030.

The Amazon rainforest suffered during Bolsonaro’s four-year presidency when the former army captain repeatedly enacted laws in favor of agriculture and mining in the forest at the expense of that vital ecosystem. Reducing deforestation is critical to slowing climate change.

“The deployment of the teams to begin inspection operations began on January 16, 2023,” Ibama told AFP.

Average Amazon deforestation increased by 75 percent during Bolsonaro’s presidency, compared to the previous decade.

“The environmental team set up by the federal government, since the beginning of the transition period, has been working to build a plan that will be able to reverse the rate of deforestation seen in the last few months,” said Ibama.

On Wednesday, Lula told Globo News television channel that he wanted to create a federal police force to “act more strongly” to protect forests.

Wildfires have severely damaged the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, such as this one in Para State in August 2022

Wildfires have wreaked havoc on the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, such as this one in Para State in August 2022.

He also said that he wanted to arrange a meeting with the other South American countries that share the Amazon to discuss a continental conservation policy.

Lula said he would fight deforestation “by any means” and added: “I will need the armed forces, I will need the federal police force.”

Since taking office on January 1, Lula has signed a series of decrees regarding the protection of the Amazon.

He also reactivated Amazon’s defense fund that had been frozen since 2019 because of a disagreement between Bolsonaro’s government and major donor countries Norway and Germany over how to spend the money.

And Lula revoked Bolsonaro’s decree authorizing mining in indigenous areas and protected zones.

© 2023 AFP

Quote: Brazil begins first operations to protect Amazon (2023, January 20) retrieved on January 22, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-01-brazil-amazon.html

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