Brazil stops slash-and-burn – breathing space for the rainforest

Brazil stops slash-and-burn – breathing space for the rainforest

After great pressure, the Brazilian government stopped the slash-and-burn operation in the Amazon region. For 120 days. Exceptions remain allowed.
Given the increasing pressure from foreign investors and local companies, the Brazilian government has banned the burning of land in the Amazon and Pantanal for 120 days. The decree, signed by Environment Minister Ricardo Salles and President Jair Bolsonaro, was published in the Diario Oficial Official Journal on Thursday and entered into force on the same day. Observers see the move as another government effort to improve Brazil’s image abroad.

On Wednesday, Vice President Hamilton Mourão said the country’s armed forces could remain in the Amazon until 2022 to fight deforestation and fires. However, the decree makes exceptions for controlled fires for agricultural purposes outside the Amazon region and the Pantanal.

Farmers use the fire to clean the soil cheaply and to gain deforested areas for agriculture and animal husbandry. The Amazon region recorded the worst fires for the month in 13 years in June.
After 2019, when the destruction of the world’s largest rainforest increased dramatically and caused international criticism, Bolsonaro had been criticized more and more in recent weeks, the pressure of the economy increased. Mourão held a video conference with European investors. According to a media report, 38 Brazilian and foreign companies had previously called on the government to take concrete steps against deforestation. The companies are obviously concerned about the image of the largest economy in Latin America.

It is questionable whether Brazil is actually increasing its efforts against deforestation. According to environmentalists, a ban on fires alone will not work. With regard to the 120-day decree, Daniela Montalto from Greenpeace Brasil said: “Monitoring the environment, stopping destruction and enforcing the law – which Bolsonaro continues to systematically dismantle – is essential.”

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