Does Brazil’s New Forest Code Threaten Brazilian Biodiversity?

On the 29th of August, 2012, Brazilian lawmakers passed a new Forest Code into law that may threaten Brazilian diversity. In an effort to give farmers and developers in the country more control over how they use and develop Brazilian land, the Forest Code’s creators sought to reduce forest protection near lakes and hills, thereby granting municipal government greater power over said forests. This new initiative relieves pressure on landholders, who formerly needed to re-plant all areas of terrain that they harvested, in order to reduce their environmental footprint.

Environmental Watchdog’s Are Not In Favor Of The New Forest Code

In the eyes of environmental watchdogs, the Forest Code presents a threat to the biodiversity of the Amazon River region, by offering landowners shortcuts that negatively impact the sanctity of nature in this unique and important area of the world. However, in the eyes of lawmakers, this new Forest Code heralds the creation of a necessary balance between the pace of Brazilian business and overarching Brazilian environmental concerns.

Due to controversy surrounding the new Forest Code, the Brazilian President was urged to use power of veto to add amendments to the bill’s various rules and stipulations.

Certain Eco-friendly Amendments Were Added To The Code

During the drafting of this new bill, environmental groups pressed government for amendments that would ensure that landowners were still subject to certain laws and protections designed to protect Brazilian biodiversity, including the mandatory preservation of 30-meter stretches of forests (known as riparian forests) near waterways. These proposed laws and protections were created to safeguard optimum biodiversity of rivers and nearby bodies of water within specified forest regions in Brazil.

Brazil’s president adopted elements of the eco-friendly amendment; however, “green” watchdogs would have preferred even tighter controls governing re-forestation by landowners and developers. The final draft of the bill reduced re-planting responsibilities to 15 to 20 meters, rather than the proposed 30 meters, while also permitting fruit trees to be used as substitutes for native forest trees.

While this bill is purported to ensure the maintenance of proper balance between corporate and environmental interests, its detractors, such as the Brazilian Environment minister, Izabella Teixeira and the environmental-watchdog organization, Greenpeace, are dissatisfied with the protections placed within the Forest Code’s many rules and stipulations.

Senate Approval Of The Forest Code Is Required

Senate approval is the final step in bringing the bill into formal Brazilian law, so last-ditch efforts to protect Brazilian biodiversity through bill amendments are still being pursued by lobby groups that strive to protect the integrity of Brazil’s bio-diverse forests and waterways. However, most pundits and environmental groups do anticipate that the new bill will be passed within the Senate and then become a part of Brazilian law for the long term.

The future ramifications of the new Forest Code and its impact on Brazilian biodiversity are yet to be determined. At this point, it’s difficult to say if the re-forestation clause included in the bill is sufficient to provide Brazilian wildlife and marine life with the ecosystem that they need to survive and thrive in years to come.

Endangered Primates Of Brazil

Within Brazil’s lush forests, the fates of two species of endangered primates hang in the balance; in order to support the survival of these species, as well as he cause of Brazilian biodiversity, it is important to understand the issues that impact these endangered species, as well as the negative ramifications of the prospective extinction of these intelligent and beautiful Brazilian primates.

Losing species is undesirable for a host of reasons. For example, losing just one species may impact the survival of many other species, since every bird, fish and animal has its place in the natural order of things. Therefore, protecting endangered primates in Brazil is imperative. Of course, one must also consider the value of the endangered species in question as bright, active creatures whose movements and social habits inspire so much fascination, study, and admiration.

As human beings, we are linked with primates through evolution. Therefore, protecting these creatures should always be a priority. Now that you know more about the perils of extinction with regard to the primates of Brazil (and Brazilian biodiversity in general), let’s examine exactly which species are currently at risk.

Which Species Of Endangered Primates Live In Brazil?

According to the Primate Specialist Group of the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the Cebus Flavius (Macaco-prego-galego) is one of Brazil’s endangered primate species. This species of primates dwells in the Atlantic Forest, in the north-east area of Brazil. Also known as blond capuchin monkeys, these small, curious and agile creatures were first discovered by Georg Marcgrave in the 17th century.

The other endangered species is known as the Callicebus Barbarabrownae (Guigo-da-caatinga), or blond Titi monkey. This primate is currently considered at even greater risk for extinction than the blond capuchin monkey. Formerly classified as a sub-species of masked Titi monkeys, this type of monkey later received a full species designation of its own. Like the blond capuchin monkey, these primates are native to Brazil’s north-eastern Atlantic Forest. The blond Titi monkey is the proud owner of a startling orange tail, and he or she also displays areas of dark fur along the head and face.

Why Are These Brazilian Primates Endangered?

Brazil’s Atlantic Forest has been depleted over the years, and it is the home to both species of endangered monkeys. It is safe to say that the Atlantic Forest habitat of these charming, inquisitive creatures is to blame for their current endangered status. Brazilian biodiversity is in peril in the Atlantic Forest, which now features a host of degraded areas, some of which are currently protected from more destructive farming, hunting, and development.

For centuries, the Atlantic Forest offered humans a rich bounty of lumber, sugar cane, coffee beans, and other commodities. Over-harvested for hundreds of years, the region has become a poignant symbol of the need for stricter laws that promote Brazilian biodiversity.

Activists are committed to saving the endangered primates of Brazil and to promoting better Brazilian biodiversity. With any luck, their efforts may allow the blond capuchin monkey and blond Titi monkey to survive in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest region.

The Birds Of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest

Brazilian biodiversity is at its peak in the Atlantic forest, which features 55 species of birds, as well as hundreds of primates, reptiles and examples of marine life. However, this region, which is located in the northeastern section of the country, is currently ravaged by the over-harvesting of natural resources, such as trees and minerals. Hunting is also a threat to these beautiful and exotic birds. Examples of species of birds which live in this tropical and sub-tropical moist forest region include toucans, parrots and eagles.

New Species Of Atlantic Forest Birds Still Being Discovered

Despite heavy de-forestation and loss of habitat in this 4,000 kilometer region, previously unknown species of birds are still being found in the Atlantic Forest, including the Grey-winged Cotinga Tijuca Condita, which was first classified by biologists in the 1980s. Many animal rights and environmental organizations that support Brazilian biodiversity in the Atlantic Forest, such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund, are devoted to preserving the habitats (and survival) of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest birds.

Toucans Of The Atlantic Forest

These colorful birds, which have long, prominent beaks, are usually found in tropical and sub-tropical environs. Toucan nests are found in holes of trees. Since the Toucan’s large beak isn’t a good tool for boring holes in tree trunks, this type of bird seeks out holes created by other birds, including woodpeckers, and then crafts nests within the hollows. Toucans prefer to eat fruit; however, they may also snack on insects or tiny reptiles in order to survive. Toucans play a vital role in the Atlantic Forest by spreading fruit seeds in trees.

Parrots Of Northeast Brazil

Parrots of the Atlantic Forest have curved bills, and they stand upright on sturdy legs and clawed feet. These parrots may feature plumage in an arresting rainbow-riot of colors. However, certain parrots found in Northeast Brazil will not be multicolored. For example, certain parrots known as cockatoos may be quite dark in appearance, and they may display crests of feathers on the crowns of their heads. Parrots munch on seeds, nuts, fruit, and other plant-based foods. Occasionally, parrots will feast on the carcasses of animals. Parrots, like Toucans, prefer to live in nests located in the holes of trees.

Eagles Of The Brazilian Atlantic Forest

Eagles found in Northeast Brazil’s Atlantic Forest area are big and strong birds of prey, which feature distinctively heavy heads and bills. These birds fly with great skill, and they are predators that inspire fear in many small animals. Due to their excellent vision and aerodynamic feathers, they have the ability to target prey with relative ease and speed. Eagles in the Atlantic Forest live in treetops or on high cliffs; these powerful birds build nests that give them eagles-eye views of the entire forest region.

Now that you know more about Brazilian biodiversity and the Atlantic Forest’s beautiful birds, you’ll understand why preserving the Atlantic Forest is so important.  When Brazilian biodiversity in this area is threatened, the entire eco-system is at risk, which may affect the fate of many species of animal, avian, reptile and plant life. Certain areas of the Atlantic Forest are now protected from hunting and harvesting, thereby offering Brazilian birds a better chance of surviving to be admired by newer generations.