Amazon I Hardly Knew You

Anyone who cares about the Amazon rainforest received some troublesome news earlier this week. The Amazon is being deforested more than three times as fast as last year. Nearly 300 square miles of Brazilian rainforest were destroyed in August of this year alone. That’s a nearly 228% jump when compared with August of 2007.

The question is why?

Well, according to Brazil’s Environment Minister Carlos Minc, upcoming elections made be partly to blame, since mayors often turn a blind eye to illegal logging in hopes of gaining votes locally. Interesting, satellite imagery is often used to track illegal logging. Also partly to blame? The recent spike in food prices which encourages soy farmers and cattle ranchers to clear land for crops and grazing.

According to this article, Minc announced that he will be pressing criminal charges against 100 of the worst individuals or companies responsible for most of deforestation since 2005. But will that serve as a deterrent to farmers and ranchers who are desperate for a solution to their problems?

It’s pretty clear that the Amazon deforestation plays into the world’s larger battle against climate change. For a good explanation by Grist.org about how The Amazon rainforest anchors global climate stability by storing vast amounts of carbon and by destroying it releases carbon and accelerates climate change, click here.