Illegal loggers rush to clear more Amazon rainforest before Lula wins election
Monhire Menkragnotire, of the Kayapó Indigenous community, center, surveys an area where illegal loggers opened a road to enter Menkragnotire Indigenous lands, on the border with the Biological Reserve Serra do Cachimbo, top, where logging is also illegal, in Altamira, Pará state, Brazil, on Aug. 31, 2019. Environmental criminals in the Brazilian Amazon destroyed public forests equal to the size of El Salvador over the past six years, yet the Federal Police carried out only seven operations aimed at this massive loss, according to a new study released Wednesday, July 20, 2022. | Leo Correa / AP

Environmental activists are warning that the second round of voting in the Brazilian presidential elections has sparked a rush to destroy more of the Amazon rainforest.

The Workers Party candidate, former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, commonly known as Lula, is the favorite to win the second round of voting against the incumbent Jair Bolsonaro on Oct. 30.

President Bolsonaro has been accused of giving the green light to illegal loggers, gold-miners, and ranchers. But Lula has promised to achieve “net zero” deforestation, allowing clearances only if an equal area of trees is replanted elsewhere.

Campaigners say the possible change of government has sparked a rush by criminal logging gangs.

Researcher Dionela Ferreira said: “People are racing to get hold of land because of the uncertainty. This is a very decisive year.”

“First they knock down trees, take away the valuable wood, and then set fires to clear the land. The final stage is sowing grass and putting a cattle herd there for three to five years, then it’s soya beans.”

Scientists have forecast that the Amazonian ecosystem, which acts as a buffer against global climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, could be heading towards a “tipping point,” where swaths of forest will turn into dry savannah.

Morning Star


Morning Star
Morning Star

Morning Star is the socialist daily newspaper published in Great Britain. Morning Star es el diario socialista publicado en Gran Bretaña.