Rubber-tapper’s daughter on course to save Amazon and Brazil

August 28, 2014

James Hider – The Times, 8/28/2014

A year ago, Marina Silva, the orphan daughter of Amazon rubber-tappers, was struggling to garner enough votes to run as an independent for president.

She had quit the Green party for being too mainstream, even though she came third on their ticket in 2010. Without the requisite signatures to stand on her own, the devout evangelical Christian environmentalist agreed to become running mate for Eduardo Campos, the Socialist party candidate.

Polling at just 10 per cent, he was lagging far behind President Dilma Rousseff. When Mr. Campos died two weeks ago in a plane crash.

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Deforestation: Brazil is a success story for conservation

August 28, 2014

Eva Botkin-Kowacki – The Christian Science Monitor, 8/28/2014

Climate scientists link about 10 percent of annual global carbon increase to the effects of deforestation. But a new study points to a promising shift.

In the 1990s, tropical deforestation claimed 40 million acres each year, according to a report released in June by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). Today, about 32 million acres of forests fall each year, a drop of about 19 percent.

Trees grow by absorbing carbon dioxide, locking it away in their roots, trunks, branches, and leaves, and emitting oxygen in return.

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More members of Amazonian tribe seek help from Brazil

August 15, 2014

Jonathan Watts – The Guardian, 8/14/2014

More than 20 members of an isolated Amazonian tribe have made contact with the Brazilian authorities amid growing fears that they are being driven from their forest home by drug smugglers or illegal loggers.

The implicit plea for sanctuary, support and weapons follows encounters in June and July that were captured on video.

This time 23 men, women and children, probably from the same tribe – crossed the border from their territory in Peru to seek help from Brazilian government officials, despite a long reluctance to make contact with the outside world.

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Tribe Emerges From Brazilian Jungle Possibly for First Time

August 1, 2014

Meghan Keneally – Yahoo News, 8/1/2014

A remarkable video shows a group of indigenous people seen for the first time by the outside world as they emerged from a Brazilian jungle while fleeing illegal loggers and drug traffickers, according a Brazilian group that tracks such jungle tribes.

The group of men are believed to be natives of Peru but they were filmed in northern Brazil on the banks of the Envira River which runs near the Peruvian border. The encounter took place within the last two weeks, but the video was released Thursday by the Brazilian indigenous authority FUNAI.

The tribal men are naked except for belts and loincloths and carry different weapons, including bows and arrows and spears in the 8-minute video.

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How satellite maps can halt Amazon deforestation

June 19, 2014

Rachel Huguet – Christian Science Monitor, 6/18/2014

In the heart of the Brazilian Amazon, a group of scientists have become unconventional crusaders in the battle to halt deforestation. They are the engine behind Imazon, one of the most prolific research groups based in the Amazon.

Imazon is now collaborating with the government of the Brazilian state of Pará to combine real-time satellite imagery and advanced mapping techniques with a system of incentives and penalties to embolden indigenous communities, local governments, and farmers to protect the rainforest.

Until recently, Pará was the epicenter of unchecked rainforest devastation. Known locally for its rural corruption and banditry, the region had been losing 6,255 square kilometers of rich biodiversity annually – an area roughly the size of Delaware. The assault threatened the territory of some of the last untouched tribes in the world, and chipped away at the Amazon’s ability to absorb 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, a critical factor in regulating the earth’s climate cycle.

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Brazil’s slaves are being freed, but owners go largely unpunished

January 31, 2014

Tim Padgett – NPR, 01/29/2014

I bought Francisco Lima his first taste of freedom in decades.

A cheeseburger.

It was 2004, and Brazil was starting to confront one of its most distressing problems: slavery. I was in northern Pará state, in the Amazon, observing a special police unit that raided slaveholding farms and firms and liberated workers like the 74-year-old Lima.

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Destruction of Brazil’s Amazon jumps 28%

November 18, 2013

Marco Sibaja – Associated Press, 11/14/2013

Brazil’s government reported Thursday that annual destruction of its Amazon rainforest jumped by 28 percent after four straight years of declines, an increase activists said was linked to recent loosening of the nation’s environmental law meant to protect the jungle.

However, the destruction was still the second-lowest amount of jungle destroyed since Brazil began tracking deforestation in 1988.

The increase in deforestation came in the August 2012 through July 2013 period, the time when Brazil annually measures the destruction of the forest by studying satellite images. The country registered its lowest level of Amazon felling the year before.

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