[acn-l] [nia-net] Amazonian deforestation crisis (fwd)

peter.unmack at asu.edu
Sun, 11 Apr 1999 17:29:19 -0700 (MST)

of interest

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 1999 12:46:35 +0900
From: James Albert <albert at nms.ac.jp>
To: "Neotrop. Ichthyol. Assoc." <nia-net at inpa.gov.br>
Subject: [nia-net] Amazonian deforestation crisis

The following articals highlight the crisis of Amazonian deforestation is
far from slowing. The first item by Nepstad et al. (Woods Hole and
Institute of Environmental Research in Belem) demonstrates that satellite
images miss more than half the damage from logging and fires. Selective
logging in particular is almost impossible to detect by satellite, and new
growth quickly hides fire damage as viewed from above. Using field checks
with mill operators and landholders, and aerial surveys by light aircraft,
they document a total loss of 17,000 square miles last year, or about three
times the official Brazilian estimate of 5,700. The second item is a
policy review showing Brazil's committment to combat Amazonian
deforestation is uneven. In particular the recent ban on deforestation in
the Amazon has been relaxed. The new Environment Minister Jose Sarney Filho
agreed to allow industrial logging firms to resume operations. JSA


ITEM # 1

Title: Large-scale impoverishment of Amazonian forests by logging
and fire
Source: Nature, Macmillan Publishers Ltd.--Abstract of article
Status: Copyright 1999, contact source for permission to reprint
Date: 4/8/99

Amazonian deforestation rates are used to determine human effects on
the global carbon cycle and to measure Brazil's progress in curbing
forest impoverishment. But this widely used measure of tropical land
use tells only part of the story. Here we present field surveys of
wood mills and forest burning across Brazilian Amazonia which show
that logging crews severely damage 10,000 to 15,000 km2 yr-1 of forest
that are not included in deforestation mapping programmes. Moreover,
we find that surface fires burn additional large areas of standing
forest, the destruction of which is normally not documented.

Forest impoverishment due to such fires may increase dramatically when
severe droughts provoke forest leaf-shedding and greater flammability;
our regional water-balance model indicates that an estimated 270,000
km2 of forest became vulnerable to fire in the 1998 dry season.
Overall, we find that present estimates of annual deforestation for
Brazilian Amazonia capture less than half of the forest area that is
impoverished each year, and even less during years of severe drought.

Both logging and fire increase forest vulnerability to future burning
and release forest carbon stocks to the atmosphere, potentially
doubling net carbon emissions from regional land-use during severe El
Ni$o episodes. If this forest impoverishment is to be controlled, then
logging activities need to be restricted or replaced with low-impact
timber harvest techniques, and more effective strategies to prevent
accidental forest fires need to be implemented.

ITEM # 2

Title: Brazil Relaxes Amazon Deforestation Ban
Source: Reuters
Status: Copyright 1999, contact source for permission to reprint
Date: March 25, 1999
Byline: By William Schomberg

BRASILIA, March 25 (Reuters) - Brazil relaxed a ban on deforestation
in the Amazon jungle on Thursday but said it would beef up monitoring
of logging companies to enforce widely ignored environmental laws.

New Environment Minister Jose Sarney Filho hit the headlines last
month when he suspended all forest clearings in an attempt to slow
destruction of the world's biggest remaining rainforest.

The controversial move came a day after the government announced a
30 percent increase in deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon last
year compared with 1997.

So far, more than 13 percent of the Amazon rainforest has been
completely cleared, equivalent to an area the size of France.
Environmentalists say the full extent of the damage is far greater
when partially logged areas are taken into account.

Representatives of timber companies met with Sarney Filho in Brasilia
on Thursday, part of a new series of talks between the government and
representatives of businessmen and farmers from the Amazon to rethink
development in the region.

The minister agreed to allow logging firms to resume operations and
said an extra 6 million reais ($3.3 million) would be spent on four
helicopters and 400 inspectors on the ground to curb unauthorised

As much as 80 percent of the Amazonian timber trade is illegal, the
government estimated recently.

``For the first time we are starting to move toward a consensus with
the logging industry and that is very important,'' Sarney Filho told
reporters after meeting with the loggers and lawmakers who lobby on
their behalf in Congress.

The government is hoping to persuade the logging industry to stop
relying on full-scale clearing of the forest to get timber and begin
using sustainable techniques instead.

Selective, planned logging accounts for just 10 percent of the Amazon
timber industry, according to official estimates.

Representatives of logging companies were divided about whether
the government's plan would work.

``What's new is they are trying to reward the good companies and
penalise the bad ones,'' said Adalberto Diamante, head of a timber
trade association in Mato Grosso state. Others said they could not
afford the kind of planned forestry measures the government was

Earlier this week, the Environment Ministry announced it would
limit small, family-owned farms to clearing a maximum of three
hectares, or seven acres, of rainforest each per year. Settlers are
considered one of the biggest factors behind deforestation in the

Copyright 1999 Reuters Limited.


These documents are a PHOTOCOPIES for educational, personal and non-
commercial use only. Recipients should seek permission from the
sources for reprinting.


________________ ________________

James S. Albert Ph.D. <'}}})><
Nippon Medical School
Department of Anatomy Tel : +81 3-3822-2131
Sendagi 1-1-5, Bunkyo-ku Fax: +81 3-5685-6640
Tokyo 113-8602, Japan Email: albert at nms.ac.jp

( http://www.nms.ac.jp/NMS/KAIBOU2/albert.html )

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