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  • Archive for November, 2014

    Forest governance progress highlighted by new report

    2014 - 11.26

    A series of new reports have highlighted forest governance improvements across Brazil, Ghana, Indonesia and Laos People’s Democratic Republic (PDR) and show a drop in the level of illegal logging taking place.

    However, while the Voluntary Partnership Agreements (VPAs) have led to a reduction in this worrying trend, much work remains to be done before the illegal practice is stamped out altogether.

    The reports – carried out by TRAFFIC and published through a series of Chatham House reports – showed that factors such as agriculture, mining and infrastructure development are key contributors to increased deforestation and illegal logging across each of the four countries.

    VPA implementation across Ghana and Indonesia has led to improvements in forest governance, such as forest legislation revision and increased transparency across the sector. The report also noted that Indonesia had rolled out a national timber legality verification system.

    Brazil, meanwhile, has implemented increased law enforcement efforts, however large flaws remain in its timber tracking system. Light penalties relating to illegal timber harvesting and poor communications between Government agencies have however hindered the crackdown on illegal logging and deforestation across the country, the report found.

    The report’s findings – which call for continuous engagement to ensure forest governance issues are given the correct high place on the priority list – are supported by environmental campaigners and firms that are already doing their bit to protect global forests, including Greenwood Management.

    Brazil holds military drills to defend Amazon

    2014 - 11.11

    Troops from the Brazilian Army are to be deployed this month in a bid to work out a protection plan for the Amazon should it ever come under a foreign attack.

    The military exercise, which will simulate a foreign invasion, will focus its attention on the Amazon area, which is of crucial importance to the overall economy of Brazil.

    The exercise is called ‘Operation Machifaro,’ and signifies how important the defence of the Amazon is becoming to the Brazilian military. Indeed, a statement released by military officials confirmed that the sheer level of mineral wealth and reserves of fresh water place the Amazon region “at risk of potential threats”.

    General Guilherme Cals Theophilo Gaspar de Oliveira, chief of Brazil’s Amazon Military Command, was reported by the New York Times as saying: “The operation will provide ways for optimising a strategy of resistance in the region.” He also emphasised that the exercise was aiming to “consolidate a doctrine of jungle combat”.

    The military exercise is hoping to prepare soldiers to respond to a military force that is bigger than Brazil’s armed forces, although no country was specifically named as being a known threat. However, certain military strategists in Brazil have focused on the US as a potential threat.

    The launch of this new exercise highlights the thinking in the country that foreign locales aim for control of the Amazon and its resources. According to an opinion survey carried out in 2011 by a Government statistics agency, 50 per cent of Brazilians believes that the country will be invaded by foreign powers aiming to take the Amazon’s resources.

    Companies such as Greenwood Management are already working with the Government to ensure that the rainforests are preserved and safeguarded for the future.