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Amazon Rainforest: Tracking the conservation of 'lungs of Earth'

Amazon Rainforest: Tracking the conservation of 'lungs of Earth'

Amazon Rainforest is often referred to as the "lungs of Earth" to signify its importance as a climate regulator. Spread over 650 million hectares, the forest falls within borders of nine South American countries and directly impacts the rainfall in those countries. Many experts also argue that it can even impact the weather of regions as far as Europe.

Amazon Rainforest stores billions of tonnes of carbon and is crucial in the fight against climate change. Its importance is well established but the forest is still in grave danger due to rapid deforestation and massive fires. Serious concerns have been raised over inadequate action to protect the forest and many environmentalists also argue that in many cases, governments are the reason for Amazon's destruction.

In an effort to track the progress of conservation of the humongous Amazon Rainforest, this Live Discourse aims to report all the happenings and scientific studies related to the "lungs of Earth" .


Brazil | Parag Narang
Updated: 04-12-2019 16:05 IST Created: 21-11-2019 14:05 IST

4:05 PMBrazilian cosmetics maker Natura & Co is pressing government officials, the private sector and local communities to bolster environmental protections in the Amazon after fires this year disrupted its supply chain, its chief executive has said in an interview.Soon to become the world’s fourth-largest beauty group after acquiring rival Avon Products Inc, Natura is advocating sustainable development of the Amazon without antagonizing right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who has called for greater economic exploitation of the vast region.Natura, which makes many cosmetics using natural additives from the Amazon, convened meetings to improve dialogue between government officials, NGOs and local communities as deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region hit an 11-year high this year.“The Amazon rainforest is too big for an individual actor alone to have the capacity for change,” Ferreira said.Last week, Natura publicly backed the Health and Happiness Project, expressing concern about a state police raid against the NGO amid a probe of a recent rash of forest fires.Natura is also faced with operational challenges as some of its suppliers in the Amazon, mostly nut producers, were affected by the fires, according to Ferreira. “Luckily, we were able to compensate for shortages by using our extensive network of 4,500 families in the Amazon region,” he said.Natura’s ties with the Amazon can be traced to 1999 when it started working with local families to explore Brazil’s biodiversity in a sustainable way. The company partners with 37 communities supplying dozens of ingredients.

5:48 PMBrazil's negotiators already face a tough job at United Nations climate talks, given anger at President Jair Bolsonaro's stance on the Amazon, but it has become doubly difficult as they are in the dark on their own government's aims. The right-wing leader has become a target for environmental lobbyists since Amazon's destruction surged to an 11-year high and terrible fires raged in August, with Bolsonaro's policies encouraging deforesters and cowing environmental enforcers.Yet as if that was not enough, Brazil's technical negotiators at the United Nations talks in Spain on Monday are disconnected from political leaders and unclear on their goals, two people familiar with the matter said. That means the negotiators could reach a deal that would be disavowed by government leaders. "Really what Brazil will do at the conference is anybody's guess," one of the sources told Reuters.Adding to the confusion, Bolsonaro loyalist and Environment Minister Ricardo Salles has turned up in Madrid a week early to attend the full, two-week conference rather than just the second stage with fellow ministers from other nations. "Only he knows what he's doing there," another source said.As home to most of the vast Amazon rainforest that serves as a bulwark against global warming, Brazil is always a major player at environmental talks and has often been a broker between developed and developing nations. But its widely-publicized backsliding on domestic protections has changed that, and Brazil's official delegation in Madrid no longer includes environmental lobby groups whose credentials it traditionally sponsored.Once swelled by activists, Brazil's delegation now has government officials only, according to two Brazilian former attendees who are participating in this year's event but under different credentials. Read more.

5:36 PMBrazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has claimed that Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio financed fires being set in the Amazon rainforest, without presenting any evidence, the right-wing leader's latest broadside in casting blame over forest fires that have generated international concern.Bolsonaro appeared to be commenting on social media postings claiming that the environmental organization the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had paid for images taken by volunteer firefighters that it then supposedly used to solicit donations, including a USD 500,000 contribution from DiCaprio.“This Leonardo DiCaprio is a cool guy, right? Giving money to torch the Amazon,” Bolsonaro said on Friday during brief remarks in front of the presidential residence.The WWF has denied receiving a donation from DiCaprio or obtaining photos from the firefighters. DiCaprio has also denied having donated to the WWF.

3:29 PMA Brazilian judge ruled to free four volunteer firefighters jailed on accusations they had set fires in the Amazon rainforest to drum up donations, according to court documents. The firefighters operate in the Alter do Chao region in the northern Amazonian state of Para which saw a surge in forest fires earlier this year. Para state civil police arrested the men on Tuesday as a "preventive" measure while they continued to investigate the cause of the fires, raiding the office of a separate nongovernmental organization called the Health and Happiness Project in the same operation.Police said the Alter do Chao Fire Brigade took pictures and videos of the fires they set and used them to defraud donors, including one who gave 300,000 reais ($71,489.85) to the group. Politicians and other NGOs had fiercely criticized the arrest and the raid, saying it was part of a concerted attempt by the government to harass environmental groups.After the number of fires in Brazil's Amazon hit their highest point since 2010 in August, right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro suggested that NGOs could be setting them.Scientists and activists, however, blame land speculators, farmers, and ranchers for setting the fires to clear land for agricultural use, saying that deforesters are being emboldened by Bolsonaro's rhetoric promoting development over preservation.

2:19 PMIn a report released recently, Amnesty International emphasized on how illegal cattle farming is driving the destruction of Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. The report says about 66 percent of the forest deforested between 1988 and 2014 has been converted to grazing pasture. According to the report, the number of cattle in Amazon region has increased more than 20 percent with 86 million of Brazil's cows currently in the rainforest.President @jairbolsonaro—protect and respect the rights of people living in the forest. End illegal cattle farming in Brazil’s Amazon. pic.twitter.com/B60eao4T92 — Amnesty International (@amnesty) November 26, 2019The report by Amnesty also brings to light some shocking findings about illegal land seizures on Indigenous peoples' territories in Brazil's Amazon. Read the full report here

1:23 PMBrazilian farmers risk losing part of the European market for soy products estimated at $5 billion per year if they push to scrap a so-called soy moratorium that restricts grain traders from buying oilseed from areas in the Amazon that have been deforested. "This farmers' movement can be perceived as a challenge," Nathalie Lecocq, director-general of FEDIOL, the group representing the European Union vegetable oil and meal industry said. "This (soy) market could be put at risk if the Amazon Soy Moratorium was questioned or suspended," said Lecocq.Aprosoja, the main group representing Brazilian soy growers, has decided to oppose the moratorium because it says landowners in the Amazon region are entitled by Brazil's Forest Code to clear up to 20% of the land for agricultural activities. The Soy Moratorium applies to land in the Amazon that was cleared after 2008.Farmers' move to end the policy also found support in the Brazilian government. Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina described the moratorium as "absurd". Bartolomeu Braz Pereira, head of Aprosoja, said the moratorium is not in accordance with national legislation that allows some agricultural activities in the Amazon.

2:39 PMMunduruku indigenous people led by 15 tribal chiefs complained about increased illegal mining on their reservation lands in the Amazon rainforest. They also urged the Brazillian government not to restart plans to build hydroelectric dams on the Tapajos river that runs through their ancestral lands and is one of the largest clear water tributaries of the Amazon.The 50 Munduruku, including children, took a week to get to Brasilia by bus to present their complaints to the head of Brazil's indigenous affairs agency Funai, Marcelo Xavier, the group said.Read More: Amazon tribe demands Bolsonaro stop mining on reservations, hydro dams

04-12-2019 04:05:03 PM

Natura calls for increased measures to protect Amazon after fires hit suppliers

Natura calls for increased measures to protect Amazon after fires hit suppliers

Brazilian cosmetics maker Natura & Co is pressing government officials, the private sector and local communities to bolster environmental protections in the Amazon after fires this year disrupted its supply chain, its chief executive has said in an interview.

Soon to become the world’s fourth-largest beauty group after acquiring rival Avon Products Inc, Natura is advocating sustainable development of the Amazon without antagonizing right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who has called for greater economic exploitation of the vast region.

Natura, which makes many cosmetics using natural additives from the Amazon, convened meetings to improve dialogue between government officials, NGOs and local communities as deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region hit an 11-year high this year.

“The Amazon rainforest is too big for an individual actor alone to have the capacity for change,” Ferreira said.

Last week, Natura publicly backed the Health and Happiness Project, expressing concern about a state police raid against the NGO amid a probe of a recent rash of forest fires.

Natura is also faced with operational challenges as some of its suppliers in the Amazon, mostly nut producers, were affected by the fires, according to Ferreira. “Luckily, we were able to compensate for shortages by using our extensive network of 4,500 families in the Amazon region,” he said.

Natura’s ties with the Amazon can be traced to 1999 when it started working with local families to explore Brazil’s biodiversity in a sustainable way. The company partners with 37 communities supplying dozens of ingredients.

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02-12-2019 05:48:50 PM

Doubts over Brazil's presence at UN Climate Change Conference

Doubts over Brazil's presence at UN Climate Change Conference

Brazil's negotiators already face a tough job at United Nations climate talks, given anger at President Jair Bolsonaro's stance on the Amazon, but it has become doubly difficult as they are in the dark on their own government's aims. The right-wing leader has become a target for environmental lobbyists since Amazon's destruction surged to an 11-year high and terrible fires raged in August, with Bolsonaro's policies encouraging deforesters and cowing environmental enforcers.

Yet as if that was not enough, Brazil's technical negotiators at the United Nations talks in Spain on Monday are disconnected from political leaders and unclear on their goals, two people familiar with the matter said. That means the negotiators could reach a deal that would be disavowed by government leaders. "Really what Brazil will do at the conference is anybody's guess," one of the sources told Reuters.

Adding to the confusion, Bolsonaro loyalist and Environment Minister Ricardo Salles has turned up in Madrid a week early to attend the full, two-week conference rather than just the second stage with fellow ministers from other nations. "Only he knows what he's doing there," another source said.

As home to most of the vast Amazon rainforest that serves as a bulwark against global warming, Brazil is always a major player at environmental talks and has often been a broker between developed and developing nations. But its widely-publicized backsliding on domestic protections has changed that, and Brazil's official delegation in Madrid no longer includes environmental lobby groups whose credentials it traditionally sponsored.

Once swelled by activists, Brazil's delegation now has government officials only, according to two Brazilian former attendees who are participating in this year's event but under different credentials. Read more.

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02-12-2019 05:36:46 PM

Brazil's president Bolsonaro accuses actor DiCaprio of financing Amazon fires

Brazil's president Bolsonaro accuses actor DiCaprio of financing Amazon fires

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has claimed that Hollywood star Leonardo DiCaprio financed fires being set in the Amazon rainforest, without presenting any evidence, the right-wing leader's latest broadside in casting blame over forest fires that have generated international concern.

Bolsonaro appeared to be commenting on social media postings claiming that the environmental organization the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had paid for images taken by volunteer firefighters that it then supposedly used to solicit donations, including a USD 500,000 contribution from DiCaprio.

“This Leonardo DiCaprio is a cool guy, right? Giving money to torch the Amazon,” Bolsonaro said on Friday during brief remarks in front of the presidential residence.

The WWF has denied receiving a donation from DiCaprio or obtaining photos from the firefighters. DiCaprio has also denied having donated to the WWF.

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29-11-2019 03:29:38 PM

Brazil frees volunteer 'firefighters' accused of setting 2019 Amazon fires

A Brazilian judge ruled to free four volunteer firefighters jailed on accusations they had set fires in the Amazon rainforest to drum up donations, according to court documents. 

The firefighters operate in the Alter do Chao region in the northern Amazonian state of Para which saw a surge in forest fires earlier this year. Para state civil police arrested the men on Tuesday as a "preventive" measure while they continued to investigate the cause of the fires, raiding the office of a separate nongovernmental organization called the Health and Happiness Project in the same operation.

Police said the Alter do Chao Fire Brigade took pictures and videos of the fires they set and used them to defraud donors, including one who gave 300,000 reais ($71,489.85) to the group. Politicians and other NGOs had fiercely criticized the arrest and the raid, saying it was part of a concerted attempt by the government to harass environmental groups.

After the number of fires in Brazil's Amazon hit their highest point since 2010 in August, right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro suggested that NGOs could be setting them.

Scientists and activists, however, blame land speculators, farmers, and ranchers for setting the fires to clear land for agricultural use, saying that deforesters are being emboldened by Bolsonaro's rhetoric promoting development over preservation.

READ MORE ON : 2019 Amazon fires
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27-11-2019 02:19:47 PM

Illegal cattle farming driving destruction of Amazon Rainforest: Amnesty

Illegal cattle farming driving destruction of Amazon Rainforest: Amnesty

In a report released recently, Amnesty International emphasized on how illegal cattle farming is driving the destruction of Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. 

The report says about 66 percent of the forest deforested between 1988 and 2014 has been converted to grazing pasture. According to the report, the number of cattle in Amazon region has increased more than 20 percent with 86 million of Brazil's cows currently in the rainforest.

The report by Amnesty also brings to light some shocking findings about illegal land seizures on Indigenous peoples' territories in Brazil's Amazon. Read the full report here.

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26-11-2019 01:23:51 PM

Europe says Amazon Soy Moratorium should not be questioned

Brazilian farmers risk losing part of the European market for soy products estimated at $5 billion per year if they push to scrap a so-called soy moratorium that restricts grain traders from buying oilseed from areas in the Amazon that have been deforested. "This farmers' movement can be perceived as a challenge," Nathalie Lecocq, director-general of FEDIOL, the group representing the European Union vegetable oil and meal industry said. "This (soy) market could be put at risk if the Amazon Soy Moratorium was questioned or suspended," said Lecocq.

Aprosoja, the main group representing Brazilian soy growers, has decided to oppose the moratorium because it says landowners in the Amazon region are entitled by Brazil's Forest Code to clear up to 20% of the land for agricultural activities. The Soy Moratorium applies to land in the Amazon that was cleared after 2008.

Farmers' move to end the policy also found support in the Brazilian government. Agriculture Minister Tereza Cristina described the moratorium as "absurd". Bartolomeu Braz Pereira, head of Aprosoja, said the moratorium is not in accordance with national legislation that allows some agricultural activities in the Amazon.

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25-11-2019 02:39:34 PM

Amazon tribe complains about increased illegal mining

Munduruku indigenous people led by 15 tribal chiefs complained about increased illegal mining on their reservation lands in the Amazon rainforest. They also urged the Brazillian government not to restart plans to build hydroelectric dams on the Tapajos river that runs through their ancestral lands and is one of the largest clear water tributaries of the Amazon.

The 50 Munduruku, including children, took a week to get to Brasilia by bus to present their complaints to the head of Brazil's indigenous affairs agency Funai, Marcelo Xavier, the group said.

Read More: Amazon tribe demands Bolsonaro stop mining on reservations, hydro dams

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