Brazil’s Biodiversity-Rich Pantanal Wetlands “Ravaged” By Wildfires

Brazil’s Biodiversity-Rich Pantanal Wetlands “Ravaged” By Wildfires

Fires are “ravaging” the biodiversity-rich Pantanal region of Brazil, Jake Spring of Reuters reported Tuesday. In the first fifteen days of August alone, the national space research agency of Brazil recorded 3,121 fires, which is almost five times greater than last year. Already, 6% of the Pantanal burned from January to July due to high temperatures, dry conditions, and high winds.

Why This Matters: As the world’s largest wetland, the Pantanal is home to key biodiversity.

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Brazil Under Fire As Amazon Burning Is Connected to Soy and Beef Exports

Brazil Under Fire As Amazon Burning Is Connected to Soy and Beef Exports

A recent study published in Science found that a significant percentage of beef and soy exported from Brazil to the EU is connected with illegal deforestation. As YaleE360 reported  that “as much as 22 percent of soy and 60 percent of beef…back to illegal tree felling and fires in the Amazon and Cerrado regions.”

Why This Matters: The study’s lead author Raoni Rajão said, “Until now, agribusiness and the Brazilian government have claimed that they cannot monitor the entire supply chain, nor distinguish the legal from the illegal deforestation.” This new study undercuts that idea, showing that Brazil can (and must) monitor agribusiness’ connections to illegal deforestation.

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Oil Spills Across the Americas Threaten Precious Ecosystems

Oil Spills Across the Americas Threaten Precious Ecosystems

Marine scientists in Brazil are closely monitoring a mysterious oil spill from August that has reached the Abrolhos Bank along the central part of the Brazilian coastline–which is the largest biodiversity hot spot in the South Atlantic Ocean.

At the same time, it was revealed last week that the Keystone Pipeline leaked 383,000 gallons of oil in its second big spill in two years. 

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Brazilian Government Plans Mining on Native Lands

Brazilian Government Plans Mining on Native Lands

Acting without the consent of the indigenous people of the Amazon, who have a guaranteed right to their land under the Brazilian constitution, the country’s new Minister of Mining and Energy announced a plan to permit mining companies to conduct operations on previously protected indigenous lands. 

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Brazil’s Amazon Protected Areas Now At Risk

Brazil’s Amazon Protected Areas Now At Risk

Brazil’s new President, Jair Bolsonaro, who is ultra-conservative and ran on a promise of deregulation similar to President Trump’s, has moved the administration of Brazil’s extensive protected areas in the Amazon from the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs to the Agriculture Ministry.  This “paves” the way for new and increased development in the Amazon and the loss of a major global carbon sink.

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