By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – On the eve of completing its five-year anniversary, Brazil’s Forest Code has barely advanced, say environmental entities. According to them deforestation increased by sixty percent between 2013 and 2016, the highest since 2009.
“Measures to combat deforestation and restriction of economic activities in municipalities on the MMA (Environment Ministry) list are not working. They need to be strengthened,” says Juan Doblas an adviser to Instituto SocioAmbiental (ISA).
According to the environmentalist, the new Forest Code gave amnesty to all those who deforested until 2008, but farmers, ranchers and loggers continued to deforest due to the lack of punishment. “Impunity for illegal deforestation ends up encouraging more deforestation,” said Doblas in an article for ISA.
Environmentalists denounce the paralysis of the actions of the Plan for Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon (PPCDAM) in recent years and agree that the repeal of the old Forest Code and the approval of the new Code is actually boosting the destruction of the forest.
Calling it an ‘epidemic of deforestation’ the environmentalist says the government must act now before the new Forest Code is seen as just another unenforceable law.
“The surge in deforestation must be faced with immediate and forceful measures. If this does not happen, the omission of the government will be interpreted by those who conduct illegal deforestation as a new green signal for impunity,” argues Doblas.
In 2009, Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva made a pledge at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, promising the country would reduce deforestation in the Amazon region by eighty percent by 2020. With the current deforestation trend, however, environmentalists say it is unlikely that the pledge will be kept.