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.

The Amazonian Water Lily

Brazil is a lush tropical and sub-tropical country that features extraordinary biodiversity, including a range of stunning and rare blooms. If you’re curious about Brazilian biodiversity, you’ll enjoy learning more about one of Brazil’s most dazzling and inspiring blossoms, the Amazonian Water Lily…

About The Amazonian Water Lily

This lovely flower grows in central Brazil, and it is known for its alluring fragrance, which is redolent of fresh pineapple. This rare example of Brazilian biodiversity features large, pale petals of pure, milky-white, and it may only be found in ponds situated in the Amazon rain forest. However, as of late, the depletion of the rain forest (due to over-forestation and the over-harvesting of other natural resources) has made it more difficult to stumble upon this rare beauty in its natural habitat.

At present, two thousand rare flowers in the rain forest are on extinction lists. The Amazonian Water Lily remains present in the rain forest…but for how long?

A New Brazilian Law May Threaten The Amazonian Water Lily

Many environmental action groups and political lobby groups are working hard to reverse the ravages of centuries of over-harvesting and farming within the Amazonian Rain Forest, by pushing for stricter laws that mandate re-forestation of farmed areas, as well as the complete protection of important regions of the forest, which are the habitats of endangered birds, animals, reptiles, marine life, and stunning, rare flowers.

However, a recent Forest Law that is about to be voted upon in the Brazilian Senate may reverse previous efforts to make farmers and developers wholly responsible for damage done to the rain forest.

The Forest Law eases the responsibilities of farmers and developers, by decreasing the amount of re-planting that they will need to do after harvesting timber and other resources from the rain forest. While the impact of this proposed law is still uncertain, watchdog organizations feel that the new law will only worsen the prospects of survival for many species of plant and animal life in Brazil.

More Examples Of Plant Life Within The Amazon Rain Forest

The Amazon rain forest is the epicenter of Brazilian biodiversity, and it offers many examples of rare plant life, such as the Ecuadorean Rain Forest Flower. This plant produces a compact yellow-and-violet blossom, and it is found in the Ecuadorean section of the Amazon rain forest.

In addition, this area of Brazil features thousands of common plants and fruits, such as Bromeliads (pineapples are the best-known Bromeliads), which hang from trees and sometimes fall to the forest floor due to their heavy weight. These juicy fruits offer sustenance to a variety of Amazon rain forest creatures, as well as humans who harvest bromeliads for their own use, or for commercial purposes.

As you can see, the Brazilian biodiversity of the Amazon Rain Forest is something to celebrate. However, in order to keep the Amazonian Water Lily (and other examples of Brazilian blossoms, flowers and fruit) surviving and thriving, humans must work to minimize their impact on this over-harvested Brazilian region.