VICTORY: Brazil Creates Massive New Amazonian Forest Reserves

Amazon roadBrazil has created two new national parks in the Amazon rainforest and expanded another, placing 1.5 million hectares (3.7 million acres) of rainforest, an area twice the size of Belgium, completely off limits to development. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's decree seeks to preserve an environmentally sensitive region in the western part of Para state long plagued by land disputes and environmental devastation, and next to where the government plans to pave a major road. Brazil's first four “Sustainable Forest Districts” or national forests for “sustainable logging” were also created.


In total some 6.4 million hectares west of the as of yet unpaved BR-163 highway were granted some form of protection. The protected areas seek to ensure that the planned paving of highway BR-163 does not result in an uncontrolled increase of logging on lands bordering the road, as has historically occurred throughout Amazonia. The controversial highway, stretching from the midwestern city of Cuiaba to the jungle port of Santarem, cuts through the heart of the rainforest and threatens to open a swath of destruction across the world's largest remaining tropical wilderness. Typically each road cut into the rainforest causes destruction for 30 miles on each side within a few years as invaders arrive to cut trees.
Forests.org has been instrumental in this victory, through years of raising awareness internationally regarding the potential impacts of road and other infrastructure development in the Amazon. Our international network has repeatedly asked the Brazilian government to increase protected areas in the Amazon, and to develop policies to mitigate deforestation. We have generated hundreds of thousands of protest emails that are a small but important part of these successful Amazon rainforest protections.
It remains to be seen whether protections of the type announced can halt follow on deforestation associated with roads in ancient forests, and just how ecologically sustainable forestry in ancient primary forests can be. Nonetheless, congratulations to Forests.org network members that participated in our years of campaigning, to the many others that work on these topics, and may Dorothy Stang who gave her life for these protections rest in peace.

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14 Responses

  1. Alex Lee says:

    Congratulations for this small victory. Lets hope that this protection is enforced, and that the 'sustainable' forestry really is. Good to see Dorothy Stang's killers brought to justice too.

  2. Valerie says:

    Hi Glen,
    What great news!
    How about this time you organise an e-mail for us in which we say a big
    thank you to him!! The President I mean!
    bw Val

  3. Joel says:

    Très bien!

  4. Michele says:

    Good morning,
    regarding the huge new reserves in Amazonas by BR-163,
    just to say a question:
    How the Governement will control that big area ?
    During one of the last visit in Italy,
    Marina Silva (Minister of Environment) said that
    Federal Governement increased elicopter
    quantity (borrowed by Army) for better area control
    to NINE (9 !!!!).
    If that is true i leave you all consideration.
    Best regards
    Michele Ferrari (Italy)

  5. Dawn says:

    It's an important step, but not of much help if they can't enforce it. Seems to be the same story in Africa; they create preserves that are supposed to be off limits, but with few resources to direct to enforcement, the people in those parts, living in such poverty, continue rampant poaching.

  6. Vivian Farmer says:

    I am ecstatic over the finding of this rainforest!!! I am praying so hard that it will be well protected FOREVER!! It saddens me to think of all the wildlife and habitat that could be lost if logging is allowed!

  7. Maia Howes says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Barry and supporters! Keep up the good work. Hard work does pay off in the long run!
    Thank you!

  8. brian pierce says:

    What great news!
    How about this time you organise an e-mail for us in which we say a big
    thank you to him!!
    The President I mean!
    brian pierce
    united states

  9. Well this is good news indeed…although it represents a step forwad it will not replace the irreversible devastation that has befallen other regions of the Amazon. The true eco-naturalist will always wish for an all inclusive protection of this delicate jungle environment and an intelligent recognition of the bounty of life expression that dwells there, so much more to gain by careful knowlegable husbandry than by mindlessly extracting ancient host trees. To many, to forever extinguish even one of the myriad species contained within this green kingdom is wrong and a loss to all generations.
    (From An Amazon traveller)

  10. Elaine Charkowski says:

    I'm glad these preserves were established! First the rainforests were threatened with cattle ranches, then genetically modified soybean farms,and now-palm oil plantations to fuel the growing biofuel industry since oil is running out!
    Biofuel must be made from vegetable waste NOT RAINFORESTS!!!!
    Thank you Glen for helping this victory happen!

  11. Jameson says:

    Hi Glen,
    Another one for the good guys !
    = Well done = and more to come for sure.
    I saw a TV program the other day on SBS about IBAMA and how tough it is to police the illegal logging industry in South America.
    Such is the size of the place for a start – the accessibility to some ranches and the costs for officials to get there and (continue to) do their jobs = without getting murdered.
    Everyone except the IBAMA people it seems to want to feed their kids and get a new horse or truck and don't give a shit about the world past their own existence (or the future).
    Even harder when the government is sometimes backdooring the whole process with bribes and shady deals.
    We can only do what we can and keep on chipping away at it (excuse the Tasmanian old growth pun).
    A day at a time we can make a difference = and you do – good on you.
    Cheers,
    Jameson.

  12. Marco Rossini says:

    Wonderful!! It's very good news.
    This result give us new energy to continue our work, our actions, our sensibilization activities, for our magic Planet!!
    Everybody, together, in different pleces and in different ways can do very much important things.
    We know whats love mean, love is not possible in a distruct world!
    Thanks
    Kisses to all from Italy
    Marco

  13. Veronica says:

    It's excellent news to hear that.
    But let's hope that this declaration of a protected area is supported by effective and clear policies to protect the rights of forest dwellers that have been there for generations. It is them who have kept those wonderful forests as they are. We should also thank them for it.
    Veronica

  14. Kartini le Grand says:

    The rainforest must to be protected , because the forest gives us good medicine against cancer and other sickness and to give air to breathe . Without the forest we cannot live . Also the climate-changing is worse . The climate on our planet is bad disturbed without the forest.

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