New laws threaten Brazil’s unique ecosystems

Phys.org, 11/6/2014

Brazil’s globally significant ecosystems could be exposed to mining and dams if proposals currently being debated by the Brazilian Congress go ahead, according to researchers publishing in the journal Science this week.

The new report by a group of Brazilian and British researchers comes in the wake of Brazil’s recent presidential elections. It warns that new legislation could pose a serious threat to protected areas, weakening Brazil’s international status as an environmental leader.

One of the proposals of particular concern is the call to open up 10% of the most strictly protected areas to mining. In a new analysis, the research shows that at least 20% of all Brazil´s most strictly protected areas and reserves for indigenous people overlap with areas that have been registered as under consideration for mining. In addition, many of the river systems associated with protected areas will be influenced by the construction of large hydroelectric dams.

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