The Amazon is in serious danger because one of the two chambers of the Brazilian parliament has decided to bin the laws currently protecting the forest.
Congress has voted to remove the legal bulwarks protecting the Amazon rain forest from stripping by livestock farmers and large property owners. The atmosphere in the Amazon area of Brazil is also becoming increasingly tense because the price of raw materials has spiralled, boosting land values hugely. The agricultural lobby has managed to successfully oppose the Forest Law which thus far has prevented large stretches of rain forest from being destroyed to make way for tillage and grazing. The law allows tillage and livestock farmers to strip just one fifth of the forest on their land and forces them to keep 80% under trees. Unfortunately, it is frequently flaunted. According to the Comissão Pastoral da Terra (the Land Pastoral Commission), 393 people were killed in disputes relating to land ownership between 2000 and 2010. The guilty parties were only very occasionally brought to justice.
The Amazon is essential for life on earth as 20% of our oxygen and 60% of our fresh water come from its magnificent rain forests. This is why it is crucial that we all protect it.
Photo credits: Jaysi, Roman Shiyanov.