Next two years will be “dangerous years indeed” for the Amazon as ag interests exploit political uncertainty

26.01.2018

An aerial view of deforestation in the Amazon, Brazil. Photo: Mongabay

A Financial Times podcast released this week explores the increase in deforestation in Brazil amid political uncertainty and weakening environmental controls.

Joe Leahy visits the so-called ‘Arc of Deforestation’, the strip along the southern edge of the Amazon where the advances of agriculture, logging and mining are eating into the rainforest.

The chief ranger in the Jamari National Forest tells Leahy: “The arc of deforestation is a warzone. It has worsened in the past ten years. And it will continue to get worse.”

Up to 95% of deforestation in the Amazon is illegal, and 80 percent of deforested land ends up as cattle pasture, according to environmental officials cited by Leahy.

Brazil is facing its greatest political uncertainty in decades, emboldening so-called ruralistas, the politicians who represent rural areas and the interests of the agriculture lobby.

A University of Brasilia academic who has studied the relationship between political uncertainty and deforestation tells Leahy: “The illegal actors in the Amazon can practically feel this fragility. And they make the most of these moments, resulting in sudden spurts of deforestation.

“2018 and 2019 will be dangerous years indeed for the Amazon.”

Click here to listen to the podcast.

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