Article30 June

Changes in the Forest Act trigger wave of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

Sérgio Abranches

The early-warning satellite system for monitoring deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, DETER, developed by the National Institute for Space Research, INPE, has detected an atypical increase in cleared forest area on March-April this year. It was the largest area cleared in this period since 2008. Compared to 2010 deforestation was 473% greater. Today, INPE has announced that deforestation in May was 146% greater than in May, 2010. More »

Article11 May

Can local sustainable development save the Amazon?

Sergio Abranches

Local sustainable development 2.0, that’s how we should call what is happening in 80 municipalities of the Brazilian giant state of Pará, in the Amazon region. Pará is 1.8 times the size of Texas. These 80 towns are basically dominated by cattle-ranching and some timber production. Beef, timber, and soybean have been the main culprits for a long history of illegal logging, that has claimed about 20% of the Amazon rainforest, and 27% of Pará’s forest cover. More »

Article23 March

Labor conflict paralyzes controversial hydropower projects in the Brazilian Amazon

Sergio Abranches

The Amazon hydropower work site at the Jirau dam, in the state o Rondonia, Northern Brazil, has been occupied by the military of the National Guard after 22,000 workers rebelled against poor work conditions. The works at its sibling Santo Antonio dam have stopped due to a sequence of 16,000 workers’ strikes. They are very controversial projects on all counts, but the government has remained aloof to the environmentalists’ criticism, to negative technical appraisals, and even to the skepticism of many investors.
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COP1606 December

A day of frantic drafting in Cancun

Sergio Abanches

COP16 closes today its technical segment with no concrete result. Even the draft document sketching the lines of a possible new global climate deal is a “non-paper”, a non-negotiating document. More »

Analysis02 September

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon: positive trends, changing patterns

Sergio Abranches
Logging of large areas in the Amazon region has dropped significantly, from August 2009 to July 2010. Both the Brazilian Space Agency, INPE, and Imazon, a non-governmental think-act tank, have captured this trend on their monitoring through satellite images. Imazon says that this trend holds for both large and medium sized plots with at least 12,5 ha. INPE’s head, Gilberto Camara, alerts that the satellite used, MODIS, can’t see logging in areas smaller than 100 ha. More »

Analysis12 June

Political threats to the Brazilian rainforest

Sergio Abranches
How can a supposedly communist legislator champion the interests of traditional landowners, and seek amnesty to illegal logging, often associated with violent land-grabbing and force-labor? The Brazilian House is right now discussing a bill proposing changes in the Forestry Code Law that does exactly that. The proposal under discussion was drafted by communist deputy Aldo Rebelo, a former Speaker of the House during President Lula’s first term in office. More »