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BRAZIL SENATE EASES FOREST PROTECTION RULES

12/12/2011

Brazilian Amazon deforestation fell to the lowest level ever reported, but progress may be shortlived as the Senate voted to ease rules for farmer forest preservation. The bill, an update to a 1965 law that severely restricted the amount of land farmers can clear, revises the 55 million hectares that farmers would have to restore to 24 million hectares. And while the Senate revised a lower house measure that would have provided amnesty for illegal deforestation before 2008, farmers will not have to pay billions of dollars in fines. Instead, they will have time to allow regeneration. "I would like to tell you something: this is not the code of my dreams," said Jorge Viana, senator from the Amazonian state of Acre. "This is was what was possible, and I believe this is as good as we could get." Debate over the bill has caused a heated argument between environmentalists, who say it creates amnesty for illegal clearing by ranchers, and landowners, who say it provides legal certainty to farmers. For the full story, see http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/19374ef0-2103-11e1-8133-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1g39NiCuN and http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Americas/Latin-America-Monitor/2011/1209/Why-deforesters-could-soon-have-freer-rein-in-the-Amazon. For the story on low levels of deforestation, see http://news.mongabay.com/2011/1205-brazil_deforestation_2011.html.