By Ashley Phillips
Green Right Now
“Amazon deforestation dropped 46 percent for the period August 2008 – July 2009 when compared to the same period a year before,” according to a report published in Em Questao, the digital newsletter of the Secretariat of Communications of the Presidency of Brazil. The data was collected by Deforestation Detection in Real Time (DETER) and the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). The results marked the lowest accumulated index since the survey began in May 2004.
The improvement, or slowing of deforestation, appeared mainly due to stricter law enforcement. In the last year, the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA) seized approximately 125 thousand cubic meters of timber or about one thousand truck loads per month.
Law enforcement is responsible for approximately 90 percent of the reduction in deforestation indexes, according to Brazil’s Minister of the Environment Carlos Minc. Over the last year, IBAMA seized 62 boats, 237 trucks and 44 tractors, and the federal police initiated 650 probes and arrested 298 people in connection with illegal logging.
Further reductions in the deforestation rate are expected this year, according to Minc. The government plans to achieve this through Macro Ecological-Economic Zoning in the Amazon Region and Arco Verde Legal Land Operation, the Amazon fund to finance preservation activities, and sustainable land use.
Preserving the tropical rainforests in Brazil is a key goal of environmental groups around the world because the undisturbed forests are highly effective at absorbing and sequestering carbon from the atmosphere. Acre for acre tropical forests can generally hold more carbon than forests in more temperate climates.
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