An area of forest equal to Germany, Italy and Austria combined could be lost forever if Brazil’s senate approves new laws on land clearance to be voted on within days, conservationists have warned.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has declined steadily since 2004 and fell to the lowest level on record in the year from August 2009 to July 2010 following improved satellite monitoring and tougher enforcement.
But this year has already seen signs of a resurgence in several areas and environmental groups believe proposed changes to Brazil’s Forest Code will exacerbate the problem in the Amazon and beyond.
They warn that the legislation would open up vast swathes of the world’s biggest rainforest to uses such as cattle ranching and soy production and end hopes of replanting many illegally cleared areas.
Agent Orange is one of the most devastating weapons of modern warfare, a chemical which killed or injured an estimated 400,000 people during the Vietnam War — and now it’s being used against the Amazon rainforest. According to officials, ranchers in Brazil have begun spraying the highly toxic herbicide over patches of forest as a covert method to illegally clear foliage, more difficult to detect that chainsaws and tractors. In recent weeks, an aerial survey detected some 440 acres of rainforest that had been sprayed with the compound — poisoning thousands of trees and an untold number of animals, potentially for generations.
Officials from Brazil’s environmental agency IBAMA were first tipped to the illegal clearing by satellite images of the forest in Amazonia; a helicopter flyover in the region later revealed thousands of trees left ash-colored and defoliated by toxic chemicals. IBAMA says that Agent Orange was likely dispersed by aircraft by a yet unidentified rancher to clear the land for pasture because it is more difficult to detect than traditional operations that require chainsaws and tractors.
Last week, in another part of the Amazon, an investigation conducted by the agency uncovered approximately four tons of the highly toxic herbal pesticides hidden in the forest awaiting dispension. If released, the chemicals could have potentially decimated some 7,500 acres of rainforest, killing all the wildlife that resides there and contaminating groundwater. In this case, the individual responsible was identified and now faces fines nearing $1.3 million.
Watch an ‘Inconvenient Truth (Lie)’ again (What a horrible thought!) or watch the following video from 2:20 and you will see that CO2 lags 800 years behind temperature rises:
And yes, the hockey stick graph is a fake and it is obvious to anybody:
Redd scheme designed to prevent deforestation but critics call it ‘privatisation’ of natural resources
An aerial view of trees at a forest on Sumatra, Indonesia where millions are being spent to fight deforestation. Photograph: Beawiharta/Reuters
Some of the world’s largest oil, mining, car and gas corporations will make hundreds of millions of dollars from a UN-backed forest protection scheme, according to a new report from the Friends of the Earth International.
The group’s new report – launched on the first day of the global climate summit in Cancun, Mexico, where 193 countries hope to thrash out a new agreement – is the first major assessment of the several hundred, large-scale Redd (Reduced emissions from deforestation and degradation) pilot schemes. It shows that banks, airlines, charitable foundations, carbon traders, conservation groups, gas companies and palm plantation companies have also scrambled into forestry protection.
While forestry is billed as one issue where significant progress could be made at the talks, over the weekend David Cameron, Chris Huhne, the climate change secretary, and the government’s chief scientists all played down the prospect of a global deal to cut carbon emissions.
“British ministers are going to Mexico this week with an approach that is both realistic and optimistic,” the prime minister wrote in the Observer . “Realistic, because we don’t expect a global deal to be struck in Cancun, but optimistic too, because we are viewing this as a stepping stone to future agreement.”
Huhne, who will attend the second week of the talks, was more blunt: “No one expects a binding deal on climate change in Cancun.” But he said deforestation and longer-term climate finance were areas where progress could be made.
The Redd scheme is central to slowing, or halting, deforestation, which causes huge releases of carbon dioxide. But critics say that the scheme amounts to privatisation of natural resources.
FoE’s report shows, for example that the Anglo-Dutch oil firm Shell has linked with Russian gas giant Gazprom and the Clinton Foundation to invest in the Rimba Rey project, 100,000ha of peat swamp in Indonesia. The project is expecting to prevent 75m tonnes of carbon being emitted over 30 years, which could earn the three groups $750m at a modest carbon price of $10 a tonne.
It also says that an investment of little more than $10m by the bank Merrill Lynch, the conservation group Flora and Fauna International and an Australian carbon trading company could generate more than $430m, over 30 years, from a project to protect 750,000ha of forest in Aceh province, Indonesia.
Sumatra, Indonesia (CNN) — The land still smolders, tinted with a depressing gray. Twisted hulks of tree trunks take on abnormal shapes. A dark black canal cuts through the wasted landscape.
It looks like a scene from an apocalyptic movie where an unknown force has obliterated all life. But this is the reality of Sumatra, Indonesia’s largest island.
The Kampar Peninsula was once virgin rainforest, some of the most biodiverse in the world. The region has now been transformed into a lifeless plain, soon to be replanted with monocultures.
Environmental groups describe the degradation as rampant pillaging — the work of multibillion dollar paper, pulp and palm oil conglomerates.
Already 85 percent of Sumatra’s forests are gone. What is left is vanishing at an alarming rate — an area the size of 50 football fields disappears every hour, according to Greenpeace and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
Twenty years after the killing of Chico Mendes, one of the world’s most prominent rainforest defenders, hundreds of human rights and environmental activists still face the threat of assassination in Brazil, a new study claims.
The report, compiled by Brazil’s Catholic Land Commission (CPT) and due to be released in full early next year, reveals that at least 260 people, among them a Catholic bishop, live under the threat of murder because of their fight against a coalition of loggers, farmers and cattle ranchers.
The list names Frei Henri des Rosiers, a French priest based in the Amazon town of Xinguara, as a particular target. Police are investigating claims he has a £14,000 price on his head because of his fight against slave labour. Also named are Maria José Dias da Costa, a union leader in the remote town of Rondon do Pará, and an Austrian bishop, Dom Erwin Krautler, who has been under 24-hour police guard for two years because of his battle against developers and child prostitution in his Amazonian diocese.
In February this year, Francisco da Silva, a 51-year-old leader of the landless movement in the Amazon, was killed with a single shot to the head. He had been named in a previous CPT report about rural leaders receiving death threats.
BRASILIA, Brazil, September 30, 2008 (ENS) – A Brazilian government agency that provides land to settlers is the largest illegal logger in the Amazon rainforest and could face criminal prosecution, Environment Minister Carlos Minc said Monday. Minc blamed Institute of Colonization and Agrarian Reform, or Incra, for occupying the top six places on a new government list of the 100 largest illegal loggers.
Today, he backed off a little, giving another government agency 20 days to analyze information presented by Incra contesting the legality of the deforestation.
Illegally cut logs await transport from a clearing in the Brazilian rainforest. (Photo by Andy Revkin)
“As some questions had been raised about what is legitimate, Ibama will go to evaluate point the point,” Minc said, handing responsibility for the inquiry to the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, or Ibama.
Minc clarified that Incra is the formal owner of the six parcels of land at issue, which in fact were deforested by the settlers. But legally, he said, the problem falls again on Incra because the Institute cannot pass ownership of land to the agriculturists until it has been settled for 10 years.
“They are small deforestations, of 20 or 30 hectares, per person. On the other hand, a small one deforests little but thousands deforest a great deal,” said Minc. “Therefore, we have that to improve, and as well we have to improve the incidents of deforestation on conservation units and on aboriginal lands.”
In total, 223,000 hectares of the rainforest were logged on those six properties
The Amazon rainforest is being chopped down more than three times as fast as last year, Brazilian officials said Monday, after three years of declines in the deforestation rate.Continue reading »
China has lost about one tenth of its forest resources to recent snow storms regarded as the most severe in half a century, state media reported Sunday.A total of 43 million acres of forest have been damaged across China as the result of three weeks of savage winter weather, the China Daily website said, citing the State Forestry Administration.
More than half the country’s provinces have been affected, and in the worst-hit regions, nearly 90 percent of forests have been destroyed, according to the paper. Continue reading »