Can the recession save the rainforests?


There was a great article in the New York Times today, dealing with deforestation in Brazil. It's always mystified me why we are still allowing thousands of acres of irreplaceable rainforest to be cut down every year. Maybe once upon a time it seemed like the forest stretched on forever, but now, would anyone still say that? Alexei Barrionuevo's article, Forest Plan in Brazil Bears the Traces of an Activist’s Vision, talks about the market forces that keep the trees falling. President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has introduced a plan to reduce the Brazilian deforestation by 72 percent by 2017, but critics point out that the country's agriculturally-based economy is going to keep  moving in the same direction barring some other type of industry.

This diversion, ironically, may have come in the form of the economic crisis. "The global recession could end up being a godsend by lowering demand for agricultural goods," Barrionuevo writes, while cautioning that the slowdown might also affect the wealthier nations' ability to help Brazil's industry transition from its current state.

Lest we lose sight of how much of an impact Brazil's economic direction has on the rest of the planet, keep in mind that "deforestation produces more than a fifth of human-generated carbon dioxide by some estimates. Some 75 percent of Brazil’s carbon dioxide emissions come from deforestation..." It's a complicated situation, but interesting to think that the economic situation putting on the brakes may actually be helpful in this instance. Read the full article.

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