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Loss 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 subsist.

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.

The 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.


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