| 15.8°C Dublin

Brazil issues four-month ban on setting fires to clear Amazon lands

Close

Dry season: President Jair Bolsonaro announced the move amid criticisms of deforestation levels in Brazil. Photo: Reuters

Dry season: President Jair Bolsonaro announced the move amid criticisms of deforestation levels in Brazil. Photo: Reuters

Dry season: President Jair Bolsonaro announced the move amid criticisms of deforestation levels in Brazil. Photo: Reuters

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has banned setting agricultural and forest fires as the country enters the dry season.

His 120-day decree, published in the official gazette, comes just ahead of the period when rainfall is at its lowest in the Amazon region.

The Brazilian government is facing pressure to show greater commitment to environmental protection.

The law already requires permits for fires to clear brush and open land for farming, ranching or logging but the requirement is widely ignored.

The new decree allows fires in some cases, including those deemed healthy for plant life outside the Amazon and the Pantanal wetlands, or those set by indigenous people who rely on subsistence farming.

Mr Bolsonaro, who announced last week that he has been diagnosed with Covid-19, took office in 2019 with plans to develop the Amazon region and has frequently denounced environmental restrictions hampering activity. His government has recently sought to demonstrate its commitment to the environment following international criticism last year when deforestation reached its worst level in 11 years.

Last week, Brazil's government proposed global asset managers adopt protected areas in the Amazon rainforest to curb illegal deforestation ahead of the burning season. That could entail providing financial support for environmental projects or paying for security to prevent people from entering the areas.

On July 7, dozens of Brazilian companies called for a crackdown on illegal logging in the Amazon rainforest. On June 23, a group of mostly European investment firms sent a joint letter to Brazilian ambassadors in their countries to express concern over rising Amazon deforestation.

Total deforestation in Brazil's Amazon from January to June was 4,900 square kilometres, up 25pc from the same six-month period last year.

Daily Digest Newsletter

Get ahead of the day with the morning headlines at 7.30am and Fionnán Sheahan's exclusive take on the day's news every afternoon, with our free daily newsletter.

This field is required


Most Watched





Privacy