Scientists convening at the largest-ever meeting of tropical biologists congratulated Brazil for its global leadership on environment and science, but warned that recent developments could jeopardize that position, undermining progress on reducing deforestation, protecting indigenous lands, and safeguarding ecosystems outside the Amazon rainforest.
Forgoing the Rio+20 Earth Summit, some 1200 tropical biologists and conservationists met in Bonito, Brazil at the 49th annual meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) to present and discuss topics ranging from ecology to sustainable use of tropical biology. More than half the participants were Brazilian.
At the conclusion of the meetings, ATBC issued a declaration urging the Brazil government maintain its leadership position on environmental conservation and sustainable development, by continuing to utilize scientific input and invest in science and education.
"Brazil's success in advancing science and conservation, while achieving impressive economic growth and significant improvements in human welfare are being watched by the world as a potential model for environmentally sustainable development," said John Kress, a botanist at the Smithsonian Institution who serves as ATBC Executive Director. "But recent developments raise concerns."
"Brazil was on a good track on environmental issues over past 10-20 years," said Carlos Fonseca, a botanist at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte. "We saw real changes in how society perceives and values the environment. Recently this changed drastically mostly due to Congress, which is changing the laws to go against popular opinion and the advice of scientists. This is threatening a lot of the achievements we've had in the past two decades."
The declaration cited several issues including the recent push to weaken the country's Forest Code, which stipulates how much forest a landowner must preserve
|Contact: Jose Fragoso|