DEFORESTATION IN THE AMAZON UP BY 28 PERCENT
Last Thursday, the Brazilian government released figures showing that deforestation in the Amazon increased by 28 percent between August 2012 and last July. Over the past decade, the country has made progress against the destruction of the rainforest, and in 2009 the government committed to reduce deforestation in the Amazon by 80 percent by 2020. Last year, Brazil saw the lowest rate of deforestation since monitoring began, but the newly released figures cause activists to fear that that trend might have reversed. Environmentalists blame 2012 changes to the forest protection law—a reform pushed by the farmers’ lobby that reduced protected lands—for the increase in deforestation. Illegal deforestation has also played a role; under Brazil’s forestry code, Amazon landowners are supposed to devote 80 percent of their land to native forests, but these laws have not been adequately enforced. The fact that deforestation generates the majority of Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions makes the increase all the more alarming. For the full story, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-24950487 and http://www.japantimes.co.jp/life/2013/11/15/environment/amazon-deforestation-in-brazil-increases-sharply-reversing-progress/#.UoZIcOLf15E.