More than 70% of Amazon loss occurred between May and July
2004,when President Lula's Action Plan to Curb Deforestation had
alreadybeen adopted. The Plan, which was presented in March 2004,
took sevenmonths of elaboration and had the participation of 13
Ministriescommitting resources, defining responsibilities and
"Clearly Lula's administration has failed up to now to implement
theAction Plan and to protect the Amazon,"said Paulo Adario,
GreenpeaceAmazon Campaign Coordinator. "Although there have been
positivemeasures taken by the Government, such as the creation of
protectedareas and demarcation of Indigenous lands, the fact that
the annualaverage of deforestation has been more than 23,000 km2
for the lastthree years is simply unacceptable. This is a national
During the same period, Lula's Government has celebrated the
rapidexpansion in grain production and world leadership in meat
exports,with the Minister of Treasury Antonio Palocci declaring,
"Agribusinessis the best business of Brazil (1). "
Also, almost half (48%) of the deforestation occurred in the
State ofMato Grosso, governed by the largest individual soy
producer in theworld, Blairo Maggi. Of the 12,576 square kilometres
lost in the State,4,176 km2 were authorised by the government. The
illegal. Maggi doesn't hide his opinion about deforestation: "A
40percent increase in deforestation doesn't mean anything at all,
and Idon't feel the slightest guilt over what we are doing here,"
Maggi saidin an interview to The New York Times in September
referring to the Amazon deforestation rate of the previous year
"Agribusiness and illegal logging are key culprits of
deforestation,"added Adario. "Lula's administration is facing a
fundamentalcontradiction: to fight Amazon deforestation or to
promote theexpansion of agribusiness to pay the Brazilian external
debt. To make
a real difference on the ground, the Government needs restrict
soyplantations only in areas already deforested, combat illegal
logging,and effectively implement their own anti-deforestation
By allowing this level of Amazon destruction, the Government is
alsocontributing to the devastating impacts of global warming.
CO2emissions from deforestation and burning in the Amazon are the
mainBrazilian contributions to climate change and there is growing
evidencethat climate change is drying out the forests (3).
Other contacts: Paulo Adario, Greenpeace Amazon Campaign Coordinator: +55 92 81158928Tica Minami, Greenpeace Amazon Media Officer: +55 92 9995 2070
Notes: 1 .Statement at the Seminar "New Private Instruments for FinancingAgribusiness", in 14 April, 2005. Quoted by the newspaper O Liberal.2. "Relentless Foe of the Amazon Jungle: Soybeans" - NYT, 09/17/20033. A drier forest leads to more forest fires. Increased CO2 emissions contribute to more climate change. This in turn dries out the foresteven more, making it more susceptible to fires and dieback in avicious and devastating cycle.