When a tree falls to illegal loggers in the forest of the Kalaweit Supayang Nature Conservation Reserve for gibbons in West Sumatra, Indonesia, it most definitely makes a sound—and generates a text message to alert reserve managers. Last summer a tiny, nonprofit start-up called Rainforest Connection installed a handful of old, donated smartphones, each tricked out with a solar charger and reprogrammed to conduct audio surveillance, into the forest canopy. The system quickly brought logging to a halt, says Topher White, a 31-year-old physicist who designed the system and founded the outfit.
Organised crime is now a big player in illegal logging, which accounts for up to 30 percent of all wood traded globally, the UN and Interpol warned on Thursday.
In the mid-2000s, some tropical countries reported a fall in illicit forest clearance, but this may well have been a mirage, they said.
In fact, criminals laundered profits into tree plantation companies.
I’m currently part of a team of awesome friends roving through the woods of east Texas as part of the Tar Sands Blockade (TSB). This is an epic fight to defend Texans’ homes and land against the clearcutting and pollution caused by the building of the massive Keystone XL pipeline.
After two years of political wrangling that pitted rural agricultural interests known as “ruralistas” against environmentalists and many scientists, Brazil’s lower house approved legislation late Wednesday that would scale back the country’s vaunted forest protection code.
The legislation would clear the slate on older – and more often than not illegal – deforestation while scaling back protections along rivers and on hills. Deputies approvedthe main legislation in a 274-184 vote, and additional voting on 21 amendments advanced by the ruralistas went late into the night.
Details remain murky, but environmentalists immediately sounded the alarm. “O início do fim das florestas”Greenpeace Brazil proclaimed in a headline on its website. “The beginning of the end of forests.”
To be fair, such visions of doom should be considered in context. Although pressure on forests is on the rise, deforestation in the Amazon hit a record low last year. If Brazil can sustain and advance those gains, it would represent one of the most remarkable environmental success stories in recent decades. The fear is that weakening the law will reverse this progress and unleash a wave of new deforestation by convincing farmers and ranchers that Brazil doesn’t have the political will to truly enforce the law.
The murder of an eight year old child from the Awa-Gwajá indigenous community, allegedlyburnt alive [pt] by loggers in the state of Maranhão, Brazil, has caused outrage throughout the Internet, as well as disbelief by many in the face of such cruelty.
The Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) confirmed [pt] that “suspicions indicate that an attack has occurred between September and October against the camp of isolated indigenous” of the Araribóia reserve, and added more information:
According [pt] toRosimeire Diniz, CIMI’s coordinator in Maranhão state, “the situation has been reported for a long time. It has become a frequent occurrence, the presence of these logging groups, putting the isolated indigenous in danger. No concrete measure has been taken to protect this population”.