But it is too soon to declare victory in the Amazon. Corruption, lawlessness and massive land fraud are now threatening those gains, and an aggressive new development push in the region may soon open remote areas of the forest to being cut.

Between 2005 and 2010, Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions plunged by 39 percent, declining faster than in any other country. Brazil accomplished this by slashing its deforestation rate by more than three-quarters, mostly in the Amazon basin. (Burning forests to clear them is the second biggest source of greenhouse gases after the combustion of fossil fuels, accounting for 30 percent of the carbon dioxide produced by human activities, according to one U.N. study.)

Read more…