Saturday, August 02, 2008

Saving the Amazon Forest


Brazil Establishes Forest Fund

Direct from the treehugger:

In an effort to raise money to prevent deforestation and preserve remaining areas of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil has announced that it has established an international fund for forest protection. Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has signed a decree establishing The Amazon Fund, which will be able to receive up to US$21 billion over the next 13 years. Donations in the first year will be capped at $1 billion.

Norway the First Nation to Donate
On announcement, the fund is already a tenth of the way towards that first year cap. Norway has pledged to donate $100 million in September. Any money received will not be tax deductible or applicable to any carbon trading scheme.

The fund will be administed by the National Economic and Social Development Banks (BNDES). The bank’s director Eduardo de Mello has said, “Donations are voluntary and donors have no say over the use of the resources.”

Up to 20 percent of funds received can be used to preserve areas of the Brazil’s ecosystem outside of the Amazon region itself.

While I’m hopeful that The Amazon Fund is a step in the right direction of halting increasing rainforest deforestation, only time will tell if Brazil will be able to fully hold on to the environmental gains that these donations may enable.

The challenge of creating a good balance between commodity-and-energy driven development and preserving biodiversity and ecosystem services is not an easy one. An excellent report from Mongabay has assembled an overview of the future threats to the Amazon rainforest in which they look at past, current and potential future drivers of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. The future of this
gigantic forest -- larger than Western Europe -- and world center of biodiversity will be determined across the next few decades.

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