SAVE Brasil and BirdLife International calls upon Partners to join the campaign against ‘retrograde’ forest law changes
Last April the Brazilian Congress approved the ‘new’ Forest Code, a batch of changes to the existing forest code dating from 1965. The ‘new’ code is one of the most controversial laws passed by Congress in recent years and will impede efforts to slow down deforestation in the country.
The President of Brazil, Dilma Roussef, has the right to veto the bill. She has until the 25th May, a few days before the Rio+20 Conference, to take this important decision and to show the world her commitment to promoting sustainable development.
The great majority of Brazilians (nearly 80%) oppose the changes to the code. They are calling for the President’s veto and campaigning to make sure that the ‘new’ code doesn’t take effect.
SAVE Brasil (BirdLife in Brazil) is asking the BirdLife International Partnership to join forces with on-going campaigns against the bill. Your help and support are needed! Links to petitions that you can sign up to are given below.
The ‘new’ Forest Code was pushed through Congress by a powerful farming lobby, contending that there is need to support Brazil’s economy by strengthening exports of agricultural products such as beef, soybeans, sugar and poultry. Another argument was that legislation is needed to prevent food prices from climbing in Brazil.
But Economists and agronomists in Brazil point out that there is potential to expand agriculture in already transformed land, that is now being used as pasture, for instance. There is no need for further deforestation of natural areas. Studies substantiate this point of view.
“This is truly a huge loss and disappointment to all of us, who have been fighting against the changes,” said SAVE Brasil’s Director, Dr Jaqueline Goerck.
Pedro Develey from SAVE Brasil points out in his article (http://www.biotaneotropica.org.b ... er?bn00610042010+pt) the impact that the ‘new’ Forest Code is likely to have on bird populations in the country: “17 globally threatened species depend on riverine forests, and eight of these are restricted to Brazil. Narrower Permanent Preservation Areas will lead to significant population losses, putting at risk the integrity of populations and, in some cases, the survival of species.”
The changes also target high altitude habitats, allowing for “continuation of unproductive livestock farming on slopes, edges of plateaus, hilltops and areas in altitude above 1800 metres”. Develey points out that many endemic species are restricted to high altitudes, including 13 bird species in the south-eastern Atlantic Forest occurring above 1800 m.