Brazil undertaking a 4-year long study of biodiversity in the Amazoin rainforest

AP/The Washington Post , 01/25/2013

The Brazilian government says it’s undertaking a four-year, $33 million study of its vast Amazon rainforest to compile a detailed inventory of the plants, animals and people that live there.

Environment Minister Isabella Teixeira on Friday signed an accord with the country’s national development bank, which is funding the study. The government says the inventory will help in formulating environmental policies aimed at preserving the forest and preventing deforestation.

Last year, Brazil lost 4,656 square kilometers (1,797 square miles) of Amazon to deforestation. That’s the smallest amount on record.

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Brazil forest protection turns to digital world

Juliana Barbassa – ABC News/AP, 12/16/2012

Landowners who broke Brazil’s environmental laws by clearing their farms of native forest used to have just one way to make right with government inspectors: plant trees. Now, they can clear their names by just pointing and clicking.

After decades trying to protect rapidly shrinking forest, Brazil has turned to the digital world and launched a new platform called BVRio that allows growers with more untouched forest on their land than is legally required to sell “quotas” to farmers who fall short, one hectare at a time, for a price that will be determined by supply and demand.

From environmentalists to landowners, all sides agree the privately developed tool could revolutionize Brazil’s ability to protect the world’s biggest rainforest while enforcing the country’s just-enacted environmental law.

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Brazil’s congress hands Rousseff a second forest bill defeat

Maria Luiza Rebello – Bloomgberg, 09/25/2012

Brazil’s Congress yesterday concluded voting on a decree to revamp the country’s forest code, handing President Dilma Rousseff a second defeat on her plan to limit deforestation.

The president’s decree signed May 25 required that cleared areas bordering rivers wider than 10 meters be replanted out to 20 meters on each bank. Lawmakers reduced that distance to 15 meters. On larger tracts, the protection was lowered from 30 meters to 20 meters. Lawmakers have also authorized the use of fruit trees for replanting.

“The president has repeatedly showed that the government is only committed to the original version of the decree,” Senator Eduardo Braga, leader of the government coalition in the Senate, said. “The possibility of another veto is real,” he told reporters in Brasilia.

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Editorial – Beyond Copenhagen

The New York Times, 12/06/09

“…Brazil, Indonesia and India have put offers on the table; others may come forward now that China has agreed to act. But the divide between rich and developing nations, let alone very poor countries, remains great. Further progress may depend on how much countries that have already reaped the benefits of industrialization — and contributed hugely to global warming — will be willing to ante up to help others adapt to climate change and reduce emissions. Brazil, for instance, has said it will protect its rainforests from clear-cutting and burning only if rich countries “pay the price.”

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