Brazil working hard to protect its rainforest
September 10, 2013
Deforestation is one of the biggest problems facing Brazil. Because so much of the Amazon Rainforest lies within its borders, the nation's vast ecosystem and wildlife depend on the habitat. However, the size of the Amazon has been steadily shrinking over the years. Fortunately, a recent announcement from Brazil's government will protect an enormous part of the rainforest, something that is certainly worth celebrating. If you live in Brazil or have friends and family there, then you may want to use your international phone card to give them a ring and discuss this latest development.
A declining forest
Despite the fact that many measures have been taken to curb deforestation, the Amazon Rainforest is still under a great threat. According to AmazonWatch.org, in early July of this year, Brazils' National Space Research Institute updated its deforestation tracking system to show that forest loss occurred at a rate five times faster between May 2012 and May 2013 compared to a year earlier. To put that in perspective, two years ago, the Amazon lost 99 square kilometers, whereas last year it lost 465 square kilometers.
There are many factors that contribute to deforestation, though agriculture is largely to blame. Farmers working in a competitive market need to find ways to increase their yield, which often drives them to clear-cut sections of the forest, making it impossible for the ecosystem there to restore itself in the future. While deforestation in Brazil has been on the decline in recent years, recent economic hardship in the nation has seen an increase in recent months. This holds true for other nations that contain parts of the Amazon, but it is more of a dire problem in Brazil, seeing that the country is home to 60 percent of the rainforest.
This week, the Brazilian government announced a new measure that will protect 10,000 square kilometers of Amazonian rainforest. If you have trouble imagining how much land that is, the Associated Press explains that it's an nearly the size of Lebanon.
This new move should help protect deforestation, but it will also help Brazil's agricultural economy, as sustainable development will still be permitted in the area. In other words, farmers can use the land there provided they don't cause permanent damage to the natural ecosystem.