December 5, 2014
Brad Brooks and Adriana Gomez Licon – CTV News, 12/5/2014
Vera Lucia de Oliveira looks to the sky, hoping for any sign of rain.
For weeks, the taps in her home have run dry as Sao Paulo has suffered its worst drought in eight decades, with rainfall at one-third the normal level. Without heavy and prolonged rain, the megacity of 23 million could soon run out of water, experts warn.
“We are always thinking: The rain is coming, the rain is coming,” said Oliveira.
But it doesn’t, and a growing consensus of scientists believes the answer to what is happening to Oliveria and her neighbors lies not in the sky above their heads but in decades of deforestation of Amazon rainforest hundreds of miles away.
November 27, 2014
BBC News, 11/26/2014
Brazil said deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has dropped by 18% in the past year. Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the fall, for the year ending July 2014, meant deforestation was at its second lowest level in 25 years.
But campaigners say alternative monitoring shows an increase for a second year running.
In 2012 the government eased restrictions on landowners, weakening legal protection for the rainforest. Ms Teixeira said 4,848 square kilometres (1,872 square miles) of rainforest were destroyed between August 2013 and July 2014. The figure was down from 5,891 kilometres (2,275 square miles) during the same period a year earlier.
October 15, 2014
Damian Carrington – The Guardian, 10/14/2014
Covert GPS surveillance of timber trucks by Amazon campaigners has revealed how loggers are defeating attempts to halt deforestation in the world’s greatest rainforest. Raids by law enforcement officers are expected early on Wednesday morning, acting on the evidence handed to them by Greenpeace Brazil.
The activists went undercover in the remote and dangerous state of Pará to secretly place GPS tracking devices on trucks suspected of illegal logging, the first time the tactic has been used. It revealed 200-mile-long journeys deep into protected regions of rainforest to collect logs and return journeys under the cover of night to sawmills in the Amazon port of Santarém, from where timber is exported to Europe, the US, China, and Japan. Satellite and aerial images were also collected and analysed during the hi-tech operation.
Violence has frequently accompanied attempts to expose illegal logging but the leader of the Greenpeace operation told the Guardian he had been determined to succeed.
September 23, 2014
Associated Press – ABC News, 09/23/2014
Despite its critical role in protecting the Amazon rainforest, Brazil will not endorse a global anti-deforestation initiative being announced at the U.N. climate summit, complaining it was left out of the consultation process. A U.N. official disputed that claim.
Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said Brazil was “not invited to be engaged in the preparation process” of the declaration. Instead, she said Brazil was given a copy of the text and asked to endorse it without being allowed to suggest any changes.
“Unfortunately, we were not consulted. But I think that it’s impossible to think that you can have a global forest initiative without Brazil on board. It doesn’t make sense,” Teixeira said in an interview Monday with The Associated Press.
September 11, 2014
Vincent Bevins – Los Angeles Times, 09/10/2014
The deforestation of the Amazon in Brazil increased by 29% in the last recorded year, according to figures released Wednesday by the country’s National Institute for Space Research, or INPE. It is the first time the deforestation rate has increased since 2008, and the report comes as environmental issues move to the center of Brazil’s October presidential election.
According to the study, carried out by satellite imaging, the Brazilian region of the world’s largest rain forest lost 2,275 square miles, nearly five times the area of the city of Los Angeles, from August 2012 through July 2013.
Despite the jump, the space agency noted that this is still the second-lowest number since it began monitoring deforestation in 1988, when more than 7,700 square miles were lost.
September 10, 2014
Kitco News – Forbes, 9/10/2014
Illegal gold mining is by no means a new phenomenon, but it has been getting more and more attention with gold’s decade-long bull run.
In the past, the focus on illegal gold mining has been more about the money countries are losing, but the spotlight is how starting to shift to the impact of these illegal practices on the environment.
At the moment, the Amazon rainforest, Earth’s largest rainforest, is seeing a growing number of illegal miners operating within it, causing environmental damage and disrupting Indigenous tribes living on government protected land.
August 29, 2014
BBC News, 8/27/2014
The authorities in Brazil say they have dismantled a criminal organisation they believe was the “biggest destroyer” of the Amazon rainforest.
The gang is accused of invading, logging and burning large areas of public land and selling these illegally for farming and grazing. In a statement, Brazilian Federal Police said the group committed crimes worth more than $220m (£134m).
A federal judge has issued 14 arrest warrants for alleged gang members. Twenty-two search warrants were also issued and four suspects are being called in for questioning.