Brazil working to reclaim Amazon rainforest

Theresa Bradley-Miami Herald, 12/09/09

The aging mayor of this crammed jungle city in the heart of the Amazon once handed out chainsaws to cut down the rainforest.

Now he throws around slogans to save it.

That legendary shift is part of a new attitude that’s driving a wave of innovation by Brazilian business and government. Those efforts are helping to slash deforestation to its lowest level on record, and have emboldened Brazilian leaders to seek a key role this week at global climate talks in Copenhagen.

“We must add economic value to the forest,” said Amazonas state Gov. Eduardo Braga, whose eco-subsidies, environmental endowment and plans to sell carbon credits to California have made the area around Manaus a public lab for sustainable forestry.

At the heart of this week’s summit debate is how much nations are willing to pay to slow deforestation, and what role Brazil will play in that effort.

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