Demonstration warns of risks in proposed alterations to Forest Law

11 maio 2011    
This morning (11/05) in front of the National Congress buildings, WWF-Brazil set up a huge inflatable model of a domestic water filter surrounded by banners calling for changes in the proposed amendment to the Forest Law and  bearing slogans like “Taking care of forests means good water for town and country alike”. The action was designed to warn Brazilian society about the importance of the areas of permanent preservation and legal reserve for the conservation of biodiversity and water resources, both of which are of fundamental importance to agricultural activities.
The ‘ruralista’ parliamentarians (associated to the interests of the agribusiness sector) are trying to push through the voting on the amendment to alter the Forest Law this Wednesday. Surprisingly, however, although the text has undergone several new modifications, up until mid-day of the day of voting, they had not been made available to parliamentarians.
According to former Senator Marina Silva, it is essential to put off voting the amendment to a later date to allow time for the text to be properly discussed by Brazilian society at large. “I feel that this untimely voting is far too hasty. Our responsibilities to the Brazilian forests and the international commitments to reducing Brazil’s greenhouse gas emissions are liable to be seriously jeopardised if we allow such a step backwards in the legislation that protects the forests,” declared Marina Silva.
In the opinion of Carlos Alberto de Mattos Scaramuzza, Conservation director at WWF-Brazil, the modifications that have now been made to the original text of the amendment not only fail to address any of the important environmental issues of interest to the family-based agriculture sector, but they have left a series of loopholes and provisos that will make it impossible to apply. “There is still time for Representative Aldo Rebelo and the president of the House of Representatives Marco Maia to avoid the imminent disaster that these changes to Forest Law will inevitably lead to,” concluded Scaramuzza.