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Agro’s role in deforestation
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Brazilian government takes aim at farmers to stop deforestation.

Deforestation in Brazil´s Amazon dropped 6 percent between August 2007 and July 2008, according a Sept. 5 report by the nongovernmental Amazon Institute of People and the Environment, or Imazon. Some 5,000 square kilometers were deforested in that period, a slight decline from the 5,330 square kilometers deforested between August 2006 and July 2007. The worst affected states were Mato Grosso and Para.

According to a Sept. 1 report by the Catholic Church´s Pastoral Land Commission, increased soy farming is a major cause of deforestation, along with low land prices.

This trend has caused many social conflicts and it has become common to hear of burned houses, evicted families, death threats, intimidation of leaders, illegal appropriation of public lands and forest destruction,” the report said.
Brazil is the world’s largest exporter of soy-based ethanol.

The commission warned that soy farmers occupy the lands aggressively and deforest areas in order to have new farmland.

In comments to Inter Press Service, Adalberto Veríssimo, a coordinator at environmental organization Imazon´s Alert System, praised the government´s measures against deforestation, especially economically, such as a ban on loans for haciendas with pending environmental charges as seemingly efficient.

“Farmers have suspended logging for fear of sanctions against their properties,” he added.
—Latinamerica Press.

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