Minor reprieve for Amazon as vote delayed on Forest Law protections



Posted on 29 June 2010  | 
Paraguay River, Brazil.
© WWF-Canon / Juan PRATGINESTOSEnlarge
Brasilia, Brazil: A Brazilian parliament special committee has delayed a vote on a proposal which would dramatically increase the areas of the Amazon that could be legally cleared.

The Special Committee on Forest Law Changes is now scheduled to vote on the proposal - which would cut back forest preservation requirements on private land and reduce Federal controls on deforestation – until next week.

Discussions today were not expected to result in any significant changes to the report before the Special Committee.

Pundits quip that the timing of the vote will be influenced by the Brazilian team’s prospects in the football World Cup.

Scientists, WWF and other environmental, community and indigenous organisations have been warning that the proposed changes being advocated by the so-called “ruralist bloc” - supported by landowners and agribusiness – could see Brazil returning to the high deforestation rates that once horrified the world.

Conservative calculations also estimate that the deforestation unleashed by the changes will be several times the emissions reductions promised by Brazil - and which were to be mainly delivered by further reductions in deforestation.

The cutbacks in forest cover requirements for stream and river banks and steep and vulnerable land will also make Brazil more vulnerable to extreme weather related floods and land slips, WWF has warned.

Paraguay River, Brazil.
© WWF-Canon / Juan PRATGINESTOS Enlarge

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