More efforts needed to further reduce Amazon deforestation | WWF

More efforts needed to further reduce Amazon deforestation



Posted on 26 October 2006
Although recent government figures in Brazil show a reduction in the rate of deforestation this year in the Amazon, burning rainforest to create pastureland for ranching and other agricultural activities continues. Amazon, Brazil.
© WWF / Mauri Rautkari
Brasilia, Brazil – The Brazilian government announced today revised figures on the rate of deforestation in the Amazon, indicating less forest destruction than in previous years.

According to the government, 13,000km2 of rainforest were destroyed in the 12-month period between August 2005 and 2006 — the second lowest rate since figures started being compiled in 1988.

The current number represents a 30 per cent fall in the rate of forest reduction compared to statistics for 2004 and 2005.

“The rates are a positive result of the government’s efforts to address deforestation,” said WWF-Brazil’s CEO, Denise Hamu. “Nonetheless, it is important to guarantee conditions for the consolidation and sustainability of these reduction levels.”

WWF-Brazil believes that this will only happen when clear, public forest policies are implemented and financial resources are made available to tackle ongoing deforestation, stimulate sustainable forestry activities, and encourage state governments in the Amazon region to better cooperate when addressing such important environmental issues.

According to WWF-Brazil, a number of factors may explain the current decrease, including a reduction in the price of soy, Brazil’s most important agricultural commodity, which may have reduced the incentive to cut down the Amazon to make way for new plantations.

“We can’t continue to be held hostage by such isolated actions to conserve the Amazon,” Hamu added. “We need to strengthen the national plan to combat deforestation.”

Combating deforestation will also help in the fight against climate change. Around 75 per cent of all Brazilian greenhouse gas emissions are a result of forest fires, which are set to clear large tracts of rainforest for agricultural activities. As a result, Brazil ranks forth in the list of countries who contribute negatively to global warming.

According to experts, around 17 per cent of the natural vegetation in the Brazilian Amazon has already been devastated by development, logging and farming.

Aware of the seriousness of the situation in the Amazon, a Brazilian proposal to create a global fund to help contain rainforest destruction and slash carbon emissions will be introduced next month at an upcoming international climate change meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.

For futher information:
Mariana Ramos, Communications Officer
WWF-Brazil
Tel: + 55 61 3364 7404
Email: marianaramos@wwf.org.br

Although recent government figures in Brazil show a reduction in the rate of deforestation this year in the Amazon, burning rainforest to create pastureland for ranching and other agricultural activities continues. Amazon, Brazil.
© WWF / Mauri Rautkari Enlarge