Brazil’s Amazon Is Under Threat from Proposed Land-Use Laws

By Brenda Brito

New legislation could worsen an already vicious cycle of illegal land invasion and clearing.

BELÉM — Ricardo Salles, Brazil’s environmental minister, made international headlines this week for his public request for foreign aid for the Amazon. Less publicized than Salles’ remarks are two bills currently making their way through Brazil’s Congress that may maintain, and even propel, a devastating trend in deforestation. Though Brazil received widespread praise for its conservation efforts not long ago — the country reduced deforestation rates by 80% between 2004 and 2012 — it has progressively lost its environmental reputation. Environmental destruction has surged...

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