This is the first in our new category of “Innovation Needed”. The areas we will cover in this section all require a radical rethinking of our approach and reflect a huge need for modification of our behaviors – quickly . . .
Cutting down Amazon forest for cattle and soy does not bring long-term economic progress, researchers say.
A study of 286 Amazon municipalities found that deforestation brought quick benefits that were soon reversed.
Writing in the journal Science, the researchers say the deforestation cycle helps neither people nor nature.
They suggest that mechanisms to reward people in poorer countries for conserving rainforest could change this “lose-lose-lose” situation.
The Brazilian government has long had a twin-track approach to the Amazon, which contains about 40% of the world’s remaining rainforest.
While the land development agency Incra settles people in the region as a way of giving them land and livelihoods – a policy that dates from the 1970s – the environment ministry is trying to reduce the rate of deforestation.
Last year the environment ministry named Incra as the country’s worst illegal logger.
The Science study suggests that the settlement and expansion policy is not producing real benefits for people.
Ana Rodrigues and colleagues assessed the development status of people in 286 municipalities using the UN’s Human Development Index (HDI), which combines measures of standard of living, literacy and life expectancy.
Some of the municipalities were in areas of virgin forest.
Others had already lost all their trees, and some were in the process of being deforested.
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