May 16, 2013
Erin Brodwin – Scientific American, 05/15/2013
The Amazon Basin is the epicenter of the world’s hydropower plants—the same gushing rains that give the region its lush foliage make it a prime destination for developers seeking to capitalize on this allegedly renewable energy source. But the long-term sustainability of these projects, which use the natural flow of water to generate electricity, is now under scrutiny.
A new study of the Belo Monte Dam, one of the world’s largest hydropower energy complexes currently under construction on the Xingu River in the eastern region of the basin, found that large-scale deforestation in the Amazon poses a significant threat to a dam’s energy-generating potential.
Although many studies have examined the impacts of deforestation on the immediate vicinity of hydropower projects, less attention has been paid to its effects on a regional scale. In fact, earlier studies found that a loss of trees within the water basin of hydropower sites increased the energy-generating capacity of the dam in the short-term, because less trees were available to suck water from the ground and export it outside the watershed in a process known as evapotranspiration.
April 18, 2013
Thomas E. Lovejoy, a member of the Wilson Center’s Brazil Institute Advisory Board, has his work and legacy on the Amazon forest research featured in a four-page article in the latest edition of Nature magazine.
A leading biologist who pioneered the concept of biodiversity, Lovejoy has conducted in the past 34 years the largest and longest-running experiment in tropical ecology. The experiment aims at testing fundamental theories about the viability of small, disconnected ecosystems and takes place in what is called “Camp 41”. Also serving as the scientific ambassador and chief fund-raiser of the project, Camp 41 has had the visits of personalities such as Tom Cruise and Al Gore. Among the main results of the research are the findings that scientists were underestimating the impacts of fragmentation and that secondary – regrown – forests create wildlife corridors, being a possible solution to diminish the impacts of deforestation. Lovejoy`s work has led to the development of similar experiments in Kansas and Borneo, as well as the creation of a non-profit conservation organization. It impacted hundreds of Brazilian scientists who have moved through the project and are now in important positions at the research and government fields. The next step for the project is to institutionalize and stabilize it through the acquisition of the ranchlands surrounding the experiment and the creation of an educational facility.
Read the article…
April 16, 2013
The Miami Herald/AP, 04/16/2013
Federal prosecutors in Brazil want 26 meat packing companies to pay fines of more than $200 million for buying cattle raised illegally.
The federal prosecutors’ office says in a statement that prosecutors in the Amazon jungle states of Amazonas, Mato Grosso and Rondonia, want the companies to pay 557 million reals ($278.5 million) for producing beef products from cattle raised in environmentally sensitive regions, on indigenous reservations and at farms that have been blacklisted for using slave-like labor.
It said that during the first nine months of 2012, the 26 companies bought and slaughtered almost 56,000 heads of cattle raised illegally.
April 5, 2013
Al Jazeera, 04/04/2013
Jose Claudio Ribeira and his wife Maria do Espirto Santo dedicated their lives to protecting the Amazon and developing a way to live sustainably off the land, but their campaign against loggers and ranchers made them prime targets.
Their murder two years ago captured headlines around their world, but their story is far from unique.
A report released last year by the environmental advocacy group Global Witness, found that between 2002 and 2011 more than 300 environment activists have been killed in Brazil, and it is very rare that anyone is held accountable.
April 5, 2013
Stan Lehman – The Miami Herald, 04/04/2013
A man who prosecutors accused of masterminding the killing of two Amazon activists in northern Brazil in 2011 was acquitted by a jury on Thursday.
Jose Rodrigues Moreira was acquitted due to insufficient evidence, said Edmundo Rodrigues Costa, the national coordinator of the Catholic Land Pastoral watchdog group that tracks land-related violence. Costa said prosecutors plan to appeal.
But the panel found two others, Lindonjonson Silva Rocha and Alberto Lopes do Nascimento, guilty of carrying out the killings of the activists. Rocha was sentenced to 42 years and eight months and Nascimento got 45 years. Costa said their attorneys will appeal those rulings as well.
April 3, 2013
France 24/AFP, 04/03/2013
Three suspected killers of a couple who blew the whistle on illegal logging in the Brazilian Amazon went on trial Wednesday.
Antonio Filho, a member of Brazil’s Catholic Church-affiliated Pastoral Land Commission (CPT) who is monitoring the trial before a court in the Amazonian town of Maraba, said it was expected to last until Thursday.
In the dock are Jose Rodrigues Moreira, who allegedly masterminded the May 2011 ambush killing of Jose Claudio da Silva and his wife Maria do Espirito Santo near Maraba, and the two alleged perpetrators Lindonjonson Silva Rocha and Alberto Lopes do Nascimento.
April 2, 2013
Samantha Pearson – Financial Times, 4/1/2013
Prosecutors have launched an inquiry into a fatal accident at Anglo American’s port in northern Brazil, fearing it may also have caused environmental damage in the Amazon region.
Antônio Carlos Marques Cardoso, prosecutor of the republic in the state of Amapá where the incident occurred, told the Financial Times he had opened a civil investigation on Monday, which could lead to possible fines.
Three workers died and another three are still missing after a landslide at the Santana port on Thursday night dragged trucks, cranes and other mining machinery into the Amazon river.
March 26, 2013
BBC News, 03/25/2013
The main group representing supermarkets in Brazil says it will no longer sell meat from cattle raised in the rainforest.
The Brazilian Association of Supermarkets, which has 2,800 members, hopes the deal will cut down on the illegal use of rainforest for pasture.
Deforestation in the Amazon has slowed over the past years but invasion of public land continues to be a problem.
March 25, 2013
Huffington Post, 03/25/2013
A group representing Brazil’s supermarkets says its members are pledging to avoid selling meat from cattle raised in the Amazon rainforest.
The Brazilian Association of Supermarkets signed an agreement Monday with the Federal Public Prosecutor’s office to reject meat from areas of the Amazon where illegal activities such as logging or the invasion of public lands take place.
Under the deal, the group will share with its estimated 2,800 members the best practices for avoiding meat raised in the Amazon.
February 11, 2013
Channtal Fleischfresser – Smart Planet, 02/11/2013
Brazil is home to roughly 60 percent of the Amazon, about half of what remains of the world’s tropical rainforests. And now, the country has plans to count every one of its trees.
A vast undertaking, the new National Forest Inventory hopes to gain “a broad panorama of the quality and the conditions in the forest cover”, according to Brazil’s Forestry Minister Antonio Carlos Hummel.
The census, set to take place over the next four years, will scour 3,288,000 square miles, sampling 20,000 points at 20 kilometer intervals and registering the number, height, diameter, and species of the trees, among other data.