25 July, 2017
Brazil to open 860,000 acres of protected Amazon forest
The Brazilian environment ministry is proposing the release of 860,000 acres in the National Forest of Jamanxim for agricultural use, mining and logging.
The government's order was a compromise measure after protests from local residents and ecologists who claim that the bill could lead to further deforestation in the Pará area.
If approved, the legislation will create a new protection area (APA) close to Novo Progresso.
Around 27% of the national forest would be converted into an APA, the ministry Carlos Xavier, president of a lobbying group in Pará to decrease the size of the Jamanxim forest, said the APA would bring economic progress to the region.
According to the ministry, the bill includes stipulations to reduce conflicts over land, prevent deforestation and create jobs.
The measures were criticised by environmental groups.
"The bill is seen as an amnesty for illegal occupation of the conservancy unit," said Observatório do Clima on its website, claiming that the government "yielded to pressure" from the rural lobby.
Carlos Xavier, president of a lobbying group in Para to decrease the size of the Jamanxim forest, said the APA would bring economic progress to the region.
In 2016, deforestation of the Amazon rose by 29% over the previous year, according to the government's satellite monitoring, the biggest jump since 2008.