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Amazon’s public policies and governmental measures through the years

Daniela Araujo

Nowadays, deforestation of Brazilian lands is currently one of the most common threats to society. The Amazon, being the largest tropical forest in the world, is considered the lungs of the planet, as well as an unique reserve of biodiversity and home to multiple ancestral indigenous cultures. Because of its enriching and natural beauty, it has become a popular target of multiple illegal activities, such as logging and livestock farming.

After the construction of the Trans-Amazonian Highway, 250-acre lots were used for the ambitious goal to clear the forest around it and dedicate it to cattle-ranching and subsistence agriculture. What pushed this “targeted agriculture scheme” even further was the increase of soybean and world meat consumption. Therefore, since Brazil was, and still is, known for being the biggest soy producer in the world, the need for exportations and supply chains became a powerful factor for the quick rise of forest degradation.

Years later, around the 2000s, the Amazon encountered a fortunate decline of deforestation. At that time, around 28% of the rainforest was legally protected and most illegal activities had little to no punishment declared. So, in order to stop the damage done over the years, the government crafted a plan to expand the amount of rainforest protection. Some of the actions included the strict banishment of illegal business activities and the demarcation of more land to indigenous people, who preserved the forest. With the implementation of the plan, approximately half of the forest was under the protection of IBAMA (The Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources).

The constant increase of protected land prevailed through the years. In 2006, the landmark Amazon Soy Moratorium was introduced, and consequently banned the sale of soy grown on land deforested after 2008. Even though the positive results were eventually leading to an end to the mentioned global issue, the Amazon had its downfall in the beginning of 2018, when it had lost more than 1,330 square miles of forest cover since then, which is equivalent to a 39 percent increase over the same period as the year before, according to the Brazilian governmental agency that tracks deforestation rates and statistics. In addition, some anti deforestation measurements were being pulled back, which is extremely targeting and malefic to the rainforest itself. In the first half of 2022, deforestation claimed roughly 1,500 square miles of the Amazon rainforest, an area equivalent to five times the size of New York City and, according to the Brazilian Space Agency, the greatest loss since at least 2016.

That being the case, it is essential that the Brazilian rainforest, home to thousands of species and indigenous tribes, receives its deserved treatment regarding the problems of deforestation and its aspects. However, Amazon’s destruction is inevitable if the government, along with the Ministry of the Environment, continues to neglect the pertinent measures that should be taken.

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