With 26,000 square kilometers lost last year – more than half the size of Switzerland – the annual deforestation rate in the Brazilian Amazon has again increased and is at its second highest ever.
Almost 17 percent of the natural vegetation in the Brazilian Amazon has already been devastated. According to WWF, formerly known as World Wildlife Fund, this clearly shows that the Brazilian government has not met its objectives, set in 2003, to reduce the deforestation of the Amazonian forest.
The global conservation organization criticizes the Brazilian government for promoting inconsistent policies, which encourage real estate speculation within forest areas in order to expand cattle ranching and industrial-scale farming.
According to WWF, this causes environmental and social devastation because of illegal land clearing, exploitation of workers, and criminal activities.
WWF also highlights the failure of the federal government and most of the region’s states to adopt sustainable development as a policy for the Amazon.
“Despite the efforts of the Ministry of Environment, the federal government and state authorities are not committed enough to the fight against deforestation,” said Denise Hamu, WWF-Brazil’s CEO.
“Governmental bodies and business corporations must do much more to reduce such a shocking deforestation rate, otherwise we run the real risk that a considerable part of the Brazilian forest will disappear before it has even been explored.”
Although the Amazon Protected Areas Program (ARPA), launched in 2002 and supported by WWF, set aside almost 16 million hectares of land for conservation and sustainable use, WWF believes that much more needs to be done to save the world’s most important rainforest.
“Creating protected areas is a truly effective conservation measure, but it is not a sufficient mechanism to stop deforestation,” added Denise Hamu.
“We need to stop the rampant destruction of the forest and ensure that its resources benefit both people and nature.”
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