of natural habitat
Nature is irreparably damaged and thousands of animal lives are
lost to extractive practices. Our wild fauna is being deprived of
forests, their natural habitat, and are thus threatened with extinction.
Deforestation is ravaging forests at frightening rates, and the
causes are many:
Legal, but mostly illegal lumbering. Honest and mindful judges,
concerned with this serious issue but ruling in distant and far-removed
areas of the country, are left to face alone the powerful lumbermen,
who obtain licenses to export chestnuts but are actually smuggling
out mahogany wood.
· The unbridled agricultural expansion, often translated
into megalomaniac projects, which seldom bear fruit, and the opening
of wide grazing areas in lands that have already proved unsuitable
for this purpose.
· The building of hydropower plants. Most of the fauna survey
is conducted by the building companies themselves, as was recently
the case with Corumbá IV Plant, in the State of Goiás,
to name just one example.
· Forest burning. As if climatic changes were not enough,
burning of forests and land vegetation cause irreversible damage
to the environment.
Victims of all these ominous activities, the surviving wildlife
keeps shifting and looking for other ranges, trying to adapt and
In our country, we are fearful of urban violence. But we are mindless
of environmental violence. We must incorporate this awareness into
our daily life, otherwise it will hit us back very soon.
felines are a case in point. Chased out of their ranges, with no
preys to feed on, they start predating cattle ranches. They are
then sentenced to death because they have become a threat to livestock
and to ranchers’ property.
Poor cattle management. Weaker animals are left to graze close
to the forest, or are not brought in for the night. There is no
investment in simple but efficient land management technologies.
And ranchers keep complaining that farming is not a profitable activity,
blaming wild cats for killing their cattle!
That is the vicious circle, where nature is the loser and man the
“winner”, playing with insensitive justifications to
avoid investing in the land.
Critical TM-Landsat Scenes
The annual rate of gross deforestation in the Brazilian Amazonia
tends to concentrate in a fraction of the 229 TM-Landsat scenes
that cover the entire region. For example, for the period 1999/2000,
more than 80% of the mean rate of gross deforestation in Amazonia
concentrated in 49 scenes (Figure 9), representing approximately
21% of the total of 229 images.
The sample used to generate the provisional estimates of the mean
rate of gross deforestation is selected so as to include scenes
with the largest rates. This procedure, adopted for the period 96/97,
97/98 and 98/99, based on the analysis of 47, 46 and 44 scenes,
demonstrated that the rates estimated from the sample in good agreement
with that were based on all 229 scenes, with errors of 1,5%, 3,1%
and 2,0% respectively.
Figure 9 Critical TM-Landsat
scenes used to estimate the mean rate
of gross deforestation in Amazonia,
for the period 2000/2001.