Forum: Protecting the Amazon rainforest is one of Brazil's foremost national interests

A photo taken on Aug 26, 2019, shows a burnt area of the Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil.
A photo taken on Aug 26, 2019, shows a burnt area of the Amazon rainforest, near Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil.PHOTO: AFP

We refer to the report (Amazon deforestation surges, fuelling fears of more wildfires, May 10).

While mentioning an increase in deforestation activities in the first four months of this year, the report disregards basic facts about Brazil's policy of permanent vigilance over the integrity of the Amazon rainforest.

Historically, Brazil has been one of the most successful countries in preserving the primeval forests within its borders.

At least 60 per cent of Brazil's continent-sized territory of 8.5 million sq km is covered by native vegetation.

Agricultural activity takes up only 30 per cent of the Brazilian territory, a percentage significantly lower than in other countries with large agricultural sectors.

The Brazilian environmental legislation is one of the most rigorous in the world.

Among the countries with the 10 largest land masses, Brazil is by far the one with the largest share of its territory (24.2 per cent) placed under environmental protection.

The Brazilian government has demonstrated that it is committed to fighting illegal deforestation. The armed forces have been assigned to combat outbreaks of wildfire and deforestation.

The National Space Research Institute, which has detected the recent increase in deforestation levels mentioned in the article, and the Management and Operation Centre for the Amazon Protection System are currently joining efforts to improve satellite monitoring, with a view to perfecting actions to combat environmental crimes in the Amazon.

In the midst of the present pandemic, Brazil remains fully engaged in the preservation of its rainforest.

Protecting the Amazon is one of Brazil's foremost national interests.

Eugenia Barthelmess

Ambassador of Brazil

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 13, 2020, with the headline 'Protecting the Amazon rainforest is one of Brazil's foremost national interests'. Print Edition | Subscribe