2014-10-03. Clashing Visions of Conservation Shake Brazil’s Presidential Vote.

posted Oct 4, 2014, 1:39 PM by Alan Gould
For GSS A New World View chapter 5. Excerpt: From the podium at the United Nations to declarations on the campaign trail, President Dilma Rousseff is celebrating Brazil’s protection of the Amazon. But satellite data released last month shows that Brazil’s annual deforestation rate in the Amazon has climbed again after years of declines, rising 29 percent, leaving her vulnerable to attacks in this nation’s acrimonious presidential race. ...When the security forces here find new signs of illegal deforestation, they often act swiftly, arresting and fining those responsible. They destroy encampments and equipment, setting fire to tractors and logging trucks. Such methods helped lower annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon by about 70 percent since 2000. ...But land speculators are adapting. Investigators say that some have assembled a web of informants tracking the movements of the environmental police. At times, small revolts have also erupted, as when dozens of people in a nearby settlement cornered the environmental police at their hotel in May. Then there are tactics like deploying arsonist crews at times of heavy cloud cover or light rains, when detecting fires under the forest canopy by satellite is thought to be harder.  ...“This is the Wild West of environmental crimes,” he said. “We are waging an endless war.” ...Though almost 20 percent of the Brazilian Amazon has been cleared since the 1960s and ’70s, Ms. Teixeira said that Brazil could serve as an anti-deforestation example for the developing world. “I would love for the forests of Indonesia or the Congo River Basin to have the same levels of protection we have forged,” she added. Still, Brazil’s deforestation rate could climb for a second consecutive year, after the 29 percent increase from 2012 to 2013. Preliminary data from a satellite-based system showed a 9 percent increase in deforestation alerts, the National Institute for Space Research said in September.... http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/04/world/americas/brazil-rainforest-amazon-conservation-election-rousseff-silva.html. By Simon Romero, The New York Times.