Thursday, June 11, 2009

Squatting and deforestation to be easier in the Amazon?

Also from NewScientist, here is an article describing a new piece of legislation in Brazil that could make illegal deforestation easier (though the initial intent seems to have been to make it harder).

The bill effectively grants title to lands obtained illegally, permitting easier use (read: slash-and-burn for agriculture and then grazing) and/or sale of the land, and basically rewarding past illegal logging with title and profit.

More details here from Global Voices and here from MongaBay.

8 comments:

ChrisSeitz said...

If the everyday person can see what the possibilities are with this bill passing, you know the Brazilian president can. With issues like these you don't accuse the illegal transfer of funds to high ranking officials, but you do suspect it. Although it does say that "if owners deforest their land, the government can take away their title deed," but it also talks about how difficult it is to monitor and enforce. I understand that they want people to live in their country, but there is no reason to give titles for high numbers of acres. I can guarantee that the average Brazilian doesn't need 100 hectacres to live comfortably. If this passes it will not only hurt Brazil, but the World's ecosystem.

Kendyll Goeman said...

The past few articles that we have read involved the U.S’s fishing regulations, U.S CAFÉ standards, and U.S carbon emission research. It’s heartbreaking to read at the end of these articles that other developing countries may have trade restrictions placed upon them to change their destructive habits. Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva’s bill is an example of another country’s destructive actions. Legalizing illegal activity seems like an easy, lazy solution to the problem. The pictures from the second article provided a visual for the fate of the “already deteriorating” Amazon rainforest. This article is especially depressing because the graph in link 3 shows that deforestation is at an all time low since 1991. If the problem is getting better, why legalize deforestation? Large-scale agroindustrial firms, cattle ranchers, loggers, and plantation forestry companies are the groups supporting HB 458.

Alyssa said...

The inevitability of bill 458 being passed with minor vetoes at best is extremely worrisome. The bill, which has the surface front of being seemingly positive making it easier for Brazilians to gain title to promised lands and promoting environmental protection, is in actuality a smoke-screen for rewarding large agro-industry. Essentially, this bill will be rewarding those companies who have been effectively deforesting the Amazon prior to 2004 (and assumingly since 2004 also). This makes you wonder who the players are who helped pass this bill so quickly through the Brazilian government and why Luiz Inacio "Lula" da Silva has been so supportive of it. Is this another example of a lesser developed country being more focuses on the economic benefits of natural resources as opposed to the non-use benefits? America was at fault of this as well in the pioneer era, but fortunately realized conservation and preservation were vital to our greatness as a country. Hopefully Brazil will wake up to this as well.

Abby Werling said...

I just can't imagine that this bill will actually get passed. It has not only woke the public up to the issue but is clearly a step in the wrong direction. Although maybe brazil has economic gain in mind over preservation. The thing is this economic gain will only be short term. When all of the resources are gone they are gone. It's unfortunate that this is even an option in such a biodiverse area.

James Marshall said...

Alot of people must be geting pork-barreled in order for this bill to get passed. If the deforestation is at its lowest since 1991 then why would they make a complete 180? Unless someone is getting something out of it.

MSchaefer said...

This bill was supported by the big companies and wealthy individuals to get it passed so that they can have ownership of the land. The people that were pushed onto the land will be over toppled by these people have more resources available to them to acquire the land. The poorer class will have more of an incentive to take land and develop it for their own gain before someone else takes this land. This will increase deforestation because the land is up for grabs and can legally take the land now. The people that have been living off the land by not cutting down the forest will want to cut down the forest because they have legal title to the land. Deforestation will increase more because the bigger companies and wealthier individuals will have more capital to invest and bigger operations to exploit the resources for their own gain.

Steph Carroll said...

I don't understand how the Brazilian president can these companies for their criminal behavior. Yes, it may boost economic morale for some time, but what happens when all their resources run out? The amazon, along with other rainforests, is an enormous scarcity. In this case it is clear that in the end marginal benefits will be nowhere near equal to the marginal costs

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