The President of Brazil announced a tremendous victory for the rainforest today – the creation of two new national parks and the expansion of another. In total, 16 million acres of the Amazon have been set aside for protection - an area double the size of Belgium.
The announcement follows the anniversary of the brutal murder of Dorothy Stang. The 74 year-old American-born nun, was gunned down in Anapu, Para State for her unwavering work to protect the Amazon Rainforest.
The now-protected area was at risk of deforestation because a road within the Para State is about to be paved. This likely would have opened the forest up to further soy plantations, cattle ranching, logging and other forms of destruction.
"This is a great step toward the protection and sustainable use of the world's last ancient forests but is only a fraction of what is needed. The Amazon and the life it supports is seriously threatened by destructive logging and land clearance to grow crops like soy. We need more initiatives like this to save the world's last ancient forests," said Paulo Adário, forest campaign coordinator for Greenpeace Brazil.
In the last three years, more than 17 million acres of the rainforest was destroyed - an area larger than the state of West Virginia.
This latest announcement is an important step toward preserving the world's ancient forests, and it comes just days after one-third of Canada's Great Bear Rainforest was also saved from destruction. These back-to-back victories are a breath of fresh air for forest advocates everywhere. But with only 20 percent of the world's ancient forests still intact, there is much work to be done, including right here at home.
- Tissue-maker Kimberly-Clark refuses to use recycled content in its Kleenex, Cottonelle, and Scott tissue products - blowing ancient forests on disposable tissue.
- President Bush is dismantling the Roadless Rule in our national forests - and putting 60 million acres of once-protected wilderness in jeopardy.