Indigenous lands block Brazil deforestation: study

Indigenous lands block Brazil deforestation: study

Indigenous lands block Brazil deforestation: study
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According to a research published Tuesday, Brazil’s indigenous reservations have operated as a deforestation barrier for the previous three decades, while devastation of the Amazon rainforest has escalated recently under President Jair Bolsonaro.

 

According to MapBiomas, a joint project of several environmental groups, colleges, and startups, only 1.6 percent of the 69 million hectares (266,000 square miles) of native vegetation lost in Brazil over the last 30 years was on indigenous territory.

Around 70 percent of the deforested area was on private land, it found.

 

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“The satellite images leave no doubt that indigenous peoples are slowing the destruction of the Amazon,” said Tasso Azevedo, the coordinator of the project.

 

“Without indigenous reservations, the forest would certainly be much closer to the ‘tipping point’ at which it stops providing the ecological services our agriculture, industries and cities depend upon.”

 

It is the latest of numerous studies to show that protecting indigenous lands is one of the best ways to slow the destruction of native forests, which are vital resources in the race to curb climate change.

 

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Indigenous reservations account for 13.9 percent of Brazil’s territory, covering 109.7 million hectares of native vegetation — nearly one-fourth of the country’s total.

 

But they face increasing pressure under Bolsonaro, an agribusiness ally who won election vowing not to allow “a single centimeter more” of indigenous reservations to be created.

According to current estimates, average annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has surged by more than 75 percent since the far-right president took office in 2019.

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