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Amazon Destruction Jumps 69 Percent in Brazil Deforestation Binge
Saturday, August 30, 2008
RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil — Amazon deforestation jumped 69 percent in the past 12 months — the first such increase in three years — as rising demand for soy and cattle pushes farmers and ranchers to raze trees, officials said Saturday.
Some 3,088 square miles of forest were destroyed between August 2007 and August 2008 — a 69 percent increase over the 1,861 square miles felled in the previous 12 months, according to the National Institute for Space Research, or INPE, which monitors destruction of the Amazon.
"We're not content," Environment Minister Carlos Minc said. "Deforestation has to fall more and the conditions for sustainable development have to improve."
Brazil's government has increased cash payments to fight illegal Amazon logging this year, and it eliminated government bank loans to farmers who illegally clear forest to plant crops.
The country lost 2.7 percent of its Amazon rain forest in 2007, or 4,250 square miles. Environmental officials fear even more land will be razed this year — but they have not forecast how much.
Minc says monthly deforestation rates have slowed since May, but environmental groups say seasonal shifts in tree cutting make the annual number a more accurate gauge.
Most deforestation happens in March and April, the start of Brazil's dry season, and routinely tapers off in May, June and July: Last month, 125 square miles of trees were felled, 61 percent less than the area razed in June.
Environmentalists also argue that INPE's deforestation report wasn't designed to give accurate monthly figures, but to alert and direct the government to deforestation hot spots in time to save the land.
The Amazon region covers about 1.6 million square miles of Brazil, nearly 60 percent of the country. About 20 percent of that land has already been deforested.
OwnForest.com Launches First-of-its-Kind Approach
To Protecting Thousands of Acres in Amazon Rainforests
Environmentally conscious consumers can own one-eighth-acre pieces within large tracts the company
purchases to save the rainforests from deforestation and reduce their own carbon footprints.
(Powell, Ohio, July 14, 2008) A small company based in the Midwestern United States has come up with a big idea for protecting the rainforests in the Amazon: Purchase large tracts of these Peruvian and Brazilian forests and sell millions of one-eighth-acre sections to environmentally minded consumers to prevent deforestation and development far into the future.
The website, OwnForest.com, owned by Warrior Earth LLC, will launch sales on July 14th and is selling the one-eighth-acre sections – or Rainforest Tiles™ – online for $99.95 USD in the U.S. to enable consumers to offset their carbon footprints and experience pride in making a difference to the environment and the future of the world. When individuals buy the tiles for themselves or as gifts, they or gift recipients become the registered property owners; OwnForest.com emails a copy of the tile deed immediately upon purchase.
Although they are forbidden to walk on, build on or harvest any natural resources from their Rainforest Tiles, owners can view their actual property virtually, any time, using Google™ Earth satellite technology. Google Earth pinpoints the Rainforest Tile
with a "Billboard" that the property owner designs during purchase, assigning a personal or business name, photo or logo and geographical location.
Revenue from the Rainforest Tiles enables OwnForest.com to purchase and protect additional endangered rainforests; support other eco-friendly operations that help save the environment, including research into and development of high-tech, sustainable harvesting technologies; and fund charities and projects to educate and employ the indigenous peoples of Brazil.
OwnForest.com currently controls several large parcels of land, held by Peruvian Company Warrior T8, and is in the process of purchasing additional acreage. Properties already controlled or in process will yield 30 million tiles for ownership.
These irreplaceable acres of rainforest likely would have suffered a different fate if not purchased and protected by OwnForest.com. Commercial deforestation and development are rapidly destroying the rainforests in Brazil and elsewhere in Central and South America. Commercial ranchers, small farmers, loggers and others are destroying approximately one and one-half acres of rainforest (about the size of two football fields) every second. Every week, an area the size of Rhode Island is deforested. And every year, an area of rainforest more than twice the size of Florida is destroyed.
Experts estimate that, if present rates of destruction continue, half of the remaining rainforests will be gone by 2025, and every acre of rainforest gone by 2060.
Such aggressive deforestation takes its toll on the global environment, too. Rainforests play a critical role in converting carbon dioxide to oxygen. Although rainforests cover only two percent of the earth’s surface, they account for nearly a third of the Earth’s oxygen generation. They also are home to two-thirds of all living species on the planet.
Further, ranchers tend to burn the forests in the process of clear-cutting, emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere while destroying the very trees that sequester it.
“We believe that one of the best solutions to the plight of the rainforests lies in the ability to purchase and protect large tracts of the forests,” said OwnForest.com president Paul Stoner. “To my knowledge, we are the only organization in the world set up to continually purchase significant acreage in the rainforests and deed pieces to individuals who are moved to join us in our efforts to save as much of the remaining rainforests as we can – for their grandeur as well as for the critical role they play in the future of our world.”
OwnForest.com operates out of offices near Columbus, Ohio.
Jeanne Tranter; 614-445-0888 (office); 614.581.0979 (cell); firstname.lastname@example.org