RIO DE JANEIRO – Following harsh criticism of its environmental and climate policies, the Brazilian government on Wednesday presented a controversial program for the preservation of nature reserves in the Amazon region.
The scheme dubbed “Park Adoption” allows individuals or companies to sponsor national parks in the Amazon region for a fee of 50 reais (9 dollars) per hectare per year, according to a government statement.
The area of the reserve varies between 2,574 and 3,865,172 hectares. However, it is only possible to “adopt” the entire garden.
French company Carrefour was the first to declare sponsoring a 75,000-hectare “Reserva Extrativista do Lago do Cunia” reserve in the northern state of Rondonia.
Carrefour is currently trying to improve his image in Brazil after the cruel death of a black man in one of his supermarkets in Rio de Janeiro in November.
Greenpeace Brazil has criticized the park initiative as an attempt to disguise reality, accusing the government of shifting responsibility for funding part of the country’s environmental protection to companies.
Brazilian Vice President Hamilton Mourao, chairman of the Amazon Council, told the World Economic Forum in Davos that the country would have no funds left for spending in the Amazon region after the pandemic.
Greenpeace, however, is referring to the Amazon Fund, a private fund that aims to fight deforestation and for the conservation of the Amazon rainforest, and which has been paralyzed since disagreements over its use.
Brazil has faced growing criticism for its management of the Amazon, especially under hardline President Jair Bolsonaro.
Rainforest deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon region has reached its highest point in 12 years, said space agency Inpe, which is responsible for monitoring rainforests, as recently as December.
Between August 2019 and July 2020, 11,088 square kilometers of forest were cut in the area, according to Inpe, which represents the largest area displaced since 2008.
This is equivalent to about 4,340 football fields per day or three soccer fields per minute and compared to the same period last year, deforestation increased by 9.5%.
Bolsonaro sees the region primarily as untapped economic potential and wants to develop more land for agriculture, mining and energy production. He has dismissed international criticism of his environmental policies as meddling in domestic affairs.
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