วันพฤหัสบดีที่ 15 พฤศจิกายน พ.ศ. 2555

Brazil's Amazon rangers battle farmers' burning business logic

Evandro Carlos Selva is a 1400 police high-tech environment with the eyes in space and feet on the ground for deadly border patrol

As the helicopter descends through the smoke in the Amazonian Jungle Hell Evandro Carlos checked the coordinates using a global positioning radio satellite back to the base of depositions of witnesses to deforestation.

flames lick the waves down through the canopy of smoke on the horizon, while below, the carbon that was stored in the forest for hundreds of years, is released into the atmosphere.

skeletal charred trees are gray, others burned black. Nearby, what was once forest area is reduced to ashes, dust and ashes. Walking through the rubble, Carlos Selva points on a farm near soy: ".. They paid to do this Forty percent of the harvest next year in this country has been bought"


is illegal and Carlos Selva - a guard with agency environmental protection in Brazil, IBAMA - starts the process of imposing fines, trade embargoes and other sanctions which have helped to reduce the deforestation rate of nearly 80% over the past eight years. This is impressive progress, but are at risk. Pressure to convert rainforest grows stronger because of drought in the United States, rising global food prices and the weakening of the Brazilian laws.

Carlos Selva works in Mato Grosso, the first line of efforts to find a balance between protecting the environment and to feed a growing world population. Next year, Brazil will surpass the United States as the world's largest producer of soybeans. Most plants grown in Mato Grosso - where the Amazon rainforest is the Cerrado savannah - and both are eaten by fields

global priorities are recorded here on earth with geometric precision. Far from the image that most people of a vast unbroken rainforest has been cut and cut polygons divide soybean fields of the world's most productive wells largest carbon on the planet earth.

The boundaries between the two must be whether humanity puts more value into our lungs or our bellies. In fact, it became a contest between economics and law.

Carlos Selva is responsible for patrolling and maintaining this limit agitated. It could well be the last work of the 21st century. Analyst, accountant, regulatory and economic climate in a dangerous wound copper and the important role that is constantly transforming satellite data, global warming, world hunger and international prices of commodities

It receives warnings deforestation death threats and space of its neighbors - all supported by the available technology in the 21st century, with the same risks as the sheriff of the Wild West is face 200 years ago. It is equipped with a GPS system, a camera, a tablet and a pistol.


monitoring and reassignment is not an easy task. In the state of Mato Grosso alone, there are 110,000 properties. Most are extremely remote. Many owners have invested their lives here and do not take kindly to being told that you can not use the land as they wish.

Carlos Selva has received death threats in June, while the world debate on the advantages and disadvantages of sustainability Earth Summit Rio +20. Has been taken hostage by the landowners. They slashed the tires on all four wheels. Corrupt local politicians are not on your side. After your operation more successful - a sting that exposed the widespread falsification of documentation forest - he and the chief of police has worked with districts were transferred from the road. Could be worse. Other browsers have had their chance homes. Many environmentalists have died trying to protect the Amazon.

is difficult to overstate the issue. Both sides of the debate set in clear terms. Save the forests and the fight against climate change. Clearing the forest and reduce hunger. Agribusiness see the Amazon as one of the last major areas of expansion.

Rangers are caught in the middle, but it's not just one or the other option. There are alarming signs that the Amazon is trapped in a vicious circle and the largest controller clears this climate, world weather, it becomes less predictable. This increases the risk of droughts and floods, destroying crops throughout the world. This, in turn, increases the pressure to clear the forest.

Twenty million people have taken up residence in the Brazilian Amazon, which covers two million square kilometers. Already, 17% was stripped by ranchers, loggers and soy farmers. In the recent summit of liberation in 2004, the square was cleared 10.723 miles per year, equivalent to the size of Albania, Haiti and Belgium.

Since then, deforestation has been significantly reduced thanks to a system that combines the eyes in the sky, boots on the ground and a growing collection of carrots and sticks to persuade farmers that are better leave the forest intact.

is mainly based on two sets of satellite data: PRODES, which is an annual audit of forests at 6.25 hectares (currently using a Satellite in the UK), and discouraging that provides almost real-time information to the rangers in the field, such as Carlos Selva, which can quickly reach the affected areas in helicopters and trucks. Individual offenders can be fined, imprisoned, machines confiscated and denied access to bank loans.

Institute of the Environment said it took 650 trucks, tractors, chainsaws 60,200 in 2011. Municipalities where more than 30 square miles were illegally dispossessed are put on a blacklist, which means companies zone accidents and cheap finance companies that negotiate with them also face restrictions.

Francisco de Oliveira Filho, director of policies against deforestation Ministry of Environment, said the program helped Brazil over halfway through its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in Copenhagen greenhouse by 36% by 2020.

"In 2004, we said that it was impossible to stop deforestation in the Amazon, but we have shown that you can reduce it," he said.

The hard work is yet to come, however, because of the deforestation polygons are becoming smaller and more dispersed. Farmers have learned the limits of satellite observation and the financial incentive to break the law increases with the increase in soybean prices. "We look at the system now. Aware that we are reaching the limits of surveillance and control," de Oliveira Filho. "Until now, we have made good progress, focusing on large landowners and large groups deforestation. But we have reached the point where, if we want to achieve our goals, we want to have holdings of less than 25 hectares. therefore in need of high-resolution satellite. "

The Ministry of the Environment focuses on an arc of deforestation in the north-east to south-west. This is the first line, where farmers are eating in the woods. By far the most affected states are Pará, Mato Grosso and Rondonia. With abundant water resources and fertile flat land at the border of the Amazon and the Cerrado, Mato Grosso is considered one of the best farmland in Brazil, which has made the forests more difficult to protect.

soybeans rose 10% last year. Locals say that this is mainly due to the conversion of grassland to cropland. But it is also clear that the pressure on the forest. In September, the Mato Grosso was the only state where clearing has continued to accelerate - an increase of 158% compared to the same period last year

One of the worst areas is Feliz Natal (Merry Christmas). Many farmers here have already been sanctioned, but there seems to be no sign that the pressure on the forest provides.

plumes of smoke every few hundred meters across a vast expanse of forest. The fog spreads across the sky, but it is far from the worst burn-off. Satellite images show the smoke from fires 100 miles the previous extension.

The deforestation process is simple. Different stages - conducted over a period of two to 10 years - all can be seen on a helicopter ride over an hour of Mato Grosso

Part approved by the government, farmers are supposed to protect 80% of the Amazon rainforest in their country and 50% in the Cerrado. To do this, the Rangers are the prints of satellite images showing the red areas where deforestation has occurred.

landed in an area where trees have been dragged down. Instead of burning the forest, farmers use two powerful tractors in conjunction with a large chain, including pushing the top of the tallest trees in the road. Carlos Selva estimated 500 hectares have been cleared without permission and began a process of punishment and restoration.

There are limits on the vision of the authorities and enforcement powers. It takes about two days for the satellite data to be processed and sent to agents on the ground. After an update next year, it will be accelerated and the Rangers also receive data on forest degradation, which should increase your chances of catching violations at an early stage.

The operation will be facilitated by two new satellites - a Japanese, a Chinese-Brazilian. The two Japanese Alos provide satellite radar surveillance, allowing space agencies and observe the forest, even during the season covered from November to March. CBERS-Brazil China 3 provide better resolution and more frequent data.
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