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Scientists warn Brazil's environmental leadership at risk
Date:6/28/2012

on their property, and proposed infrastructure projects, which could worsen deforestation and degrade important ecosystem functions.

"Changes to the Forest Code are short-sighted and largely ignored input from biologists and conservation scientists," said Fonseca. "The new Forest Code could reverse Brazil's progress in reducing deforestation."

The scientists also noted possible changes in how indigenous lands and protected areas are designated. The proposal would give more power to Brazilian Congress, which passed the revised forest code, and industrial development agencies in determining what lands are set aside as indigenous territories and parks.

"We are concerned about a push in Congress to start reviewing the tenure of the indigenous lands, which is something that is unique to Brazil," said Jos Manuel Fragoso, an ecologist at Stanford University. "Indigenous peoples depend on these lands for their livelihoods and are also very important partners for biodiversity conservation."

"We feel that Brazil has been in a leadership position with regard to the environment so we're disappointed to see the government failing to address concerns raised by the scientific community on some of these large-scale industrial development projects like the Belo Monte dam and the proposed project on the Tapajs River," said Fragoso.

"Brazil is planning 30 new dams in the legal Amazon region by 2020," said Philip Fearnside of the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amaznia in Manaus, Brazil. "These dams will block key fish migration routes, flood tens of thousands of hectares of rainforest, inundate indigenous communities, and unleash vast amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Amazon dams are not a source of clean energy."

The declaration urged the government rigorously and transparently consider and utilize scientific information in the planning all dam projects. It noted the need to investigate less damaging forms of techn
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Contact: Jose Fragoso
fragoso@stanford.edu
415-810-1887
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert

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