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Brazil plans to cut Amazon deforestation to zero by 2015

Brazil plans to cut Amazon deforestation to zero by 2015

Brazil plans to cut Amazon deforestation to zero by 2015
September 26, 2008

Brazil aims to cut net deforestation to zero by 2015 according to a plan that will be released by the government next week.

“It’s a bold plan, with voluntary and sectoral targets that together represent the reduction by hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide a year, be it through reducing waste, improving energy efficiency or the progressive reduction of deforestation and planting of native and commercial forests,” Environment Minister Carlos Minc said in a statement.

The plan will apparently rely both on reforestation and reductions in deforestation, although it is presently unclear to the extent that industrial plantations will count toward its goal. The government is weighing a proposal allow landowners to include oil palm plantations as part of their legal forest reserve. Brazilian law requires landowners in the Brazilian Amazon to maintain 80 percent of the forest cover on their land and the change could allow ranchers and farmers to legally covert up to 30 percent of their holdings for the oilseed, which is used to produce palm oil. An emphasis on plantations in the plan would be significant in that they are deficient in terms of biodiversity and carbon storage relative to natural forests.

Brazil says the plan will help the country reduce its greenhouse gas emissions — 70 percent of which result from deforestation. Brazil is the world’s fourth larger CO2 emitter when land use is included in the emissions tally. Since 2000 more than 160,000 square kilometers of the Brazilian Amazon has been cleared.

Brazil recently announced the creation of a $21 billion “Amazon Fund” for preserving Earth’s largest rainforest. The fund relies on donations from foreign governments and private entities. Norway said it would commit up to $1 billion dollars depending on Brazil’s success in reducing deforestation.

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