August 17, 2012
A regional judge called for an immediate halt to construction on Tuesday after years of high-profile criticism. The likes of Hollywood director James Cameron and the Inter-American Court on Human Rights have said Belo Monte would displace indigenous people in the Amazon rain forest.
President Dilma Rousseff, however, has said such mega dams are needed to meet the energy demands of Brazil’s growing consumer class — the result of intense poverty alleviation in Latin America’s largest economy.
“This situation must be resolved very quickly in order to take advantage of a hydrological window,” President of Norte Energia (Northern Energy) Duilio Figueiredo told Reuters, referring the seasonal rains in the region.
June 18, 2012
Google unveiled a cultural map of Brazil’s Surui indigenous people, a tool that will help the Amazonian tribe share their knowledge of the forest and fight illegal logging.
The map, the result of a five-year partnership between Surui chief Almir and the US technology giant, was released online for the first time at a business forum held on the sidelines of the UN Rio+20 conference on sustainable development.
The map, a collection of picture and videos mapping historical sites and offering 3D visualisation of Surui territory in the northwestern Brazilian state of Rondonia, is available on the site http://www.paiter.org as well as on Google Earth.
January 10, 2012
Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff signed the decree for the construction of five new hydroelectric dams in the Amazon basin and readies for a renewed attack from domestic and international environmentalists against the project.
The five will be built along the Tapajós River in the state of Para to which access will only be by helicopter, to preserve the Amazon rain forest and there will be no constructions in the surrounding area to the dams, announced Mines and Energy minister Edison Lobao.
“This new model of hydroelectric dams is almost like a science fiction film, it reminds us of Avatar” said Lobao in direct reference to film director James Cameron.
December 5, 2011
The Economist – from the print edition, 12/03/2011
DRIVE out of Porto Velho, the capital of the Amazonian state of Rondônia, and you see the trouble the world’s largest forest is in. Lorry after lorry trundles by laden with logs; more logs lie by the road, to be collected by smugglers who dumped them on the rumour of a (rare) roadcheck. Charred tree-stumps show where ranchers burned what the loggers left behind; a few cattle roam sparsely through the scrubby fields. In places the acid subsoil shows through, sandy and bone-pale. Seen from above, the roads look like hatchet blows, with dirt tracks radiating outward like thinner wounds. The picture is reproduced across the Amazon’s “arc of deforestation” (see map).
The Brazilian Amazon is now home to 24m people, many of them settlers who trekked those roads in the 1960s and 1970s, lured by a government promise that those who farmed “unproductive” land could keep it. Chaotic or corrupt land registries left some without secure title. Rubber-tappers, loggers, miners and charcoal-burners came too. The most recent arrivals are 20,000 construction workers building dams on the Madeira and Xingu rivers to provide electricity to Brazil’s populous south. They have attracted some 80,000 camp-followers, many of whom squat on supposedly protected land.
The population of Jaci-Paraná, the nearest town to the Jirau dam being built on the Madeira, has risen from 3,500 to 21,000 in a decade—but it still has just four police. Prostitutes and drug-dealers do well. On payday, says Maria Pereira, a teacher, busloads of construction workers hit town to drink and fight. Knife-killings are common. When the dam is finished, many of the new residents will move on. Behind them, a bit more of the Amazon will be gone.
October 12, 2011
AP/ABC News, 10/08/2011
Researchers monitoring the destruction of Brazil’s Amazon forest say the creation of conservation units and indigenous reserves has not been enough to contain deforestation.
The Ministry of Science and Technology’s Prodes Project analyzes satellite images of the forest.
The Brazilian newspaper O Globo says the project reports that deforestation increased 127 percent in the century’s first decade for the 132 conservation units observed.