The Amazon Rainforest has been in a steep decline every year. According to an article by the New York Times, more than 39,000 wildfires in the tropical forests have already been recorded in 2019 alone. That is a 77% increase from the forest fires year before that.
Deforestation has long been a problem in the rainforest. This is caused by a number of reasons such as illegal business practices in forests and an increase in population. Many of the fires are also largely contributed by cattle drivers, farmers, and businesses who want to use the trees, species, many local resources to create products out of the Amazon Rainforest without practicing sustainable ways to do it.
In recent years, many groups and organizations have called for more local protection laws to save and protect the Amazon Rainforest. Thanks to the power of social media, many are now putting pressure on the higher-ups especially to the high authorities of Brazil to enforce strict protection laws that will help protect what is left in the rainforest.
With this, many are asking what is currently being done to save the Amazon Rainforest? What is currently the initiatives taken to help the species, trees, and other tropical resources in the region? Here are some of the initiatives that are currently in place to ensure that the Amazon Rainforest remains protected in the many years to come.
1. Protected Areas
The government of Brazil has now pushed for more protected areas in the Amazon Rainforest considering that majority of the rainforest can be found in the country. Over half of the Amazon in the Brazil region, an area larger than Greenland is now designated as indigenous land or national parks to effectively protect the area from agriculture and deforestation. It began in 2003 when the administration in Brazil recognized indigenous land rights and started a way to curb illegal logging and deforestation.
2. Environment Laws
There are forestry and environment laws that currently protects the Amazon Rainforest but over the years, there has been a problem with how it is being enforced. The Brazilian government is now setting fines for violators. Patrols, and other initiatives like satellites are being put in place to ensure the proper enforcement of forestry laws in the Amazon Rainforest. Yet, recently, Jair Bolsonaro, the president of Brazil along with the rest of his adminitration has been criticized for his lack of care for the tropical environmental laws that will help the region. In fact, Bolsonaro has even encouraged business practices that are not sustainable and abuse of local resources. This has happened when Bolsonaro cut off the budget for environmental protection.
3. Cooperation from Industry
The destruction of the rainforest is mainly caused by cattle ranching followed by the growing demand for soybeans products. These demand for products are the main drivers of deforestation in the Amazon for many decades. Due to the mounting pressure and bad publicity, cattle and soybean industries are given limitations as to how they can continue with their operations. This way, deforestation is strictly discouraged. Nonetheless, there is still increasing concern despite the restrictions which is why there is still a continued demand for accountability in all the industries involved.
4. Satellite Monitoring
To monitor the spread of ranching and soybeans production especially in restricted and protected areas, the Brazilian Space Agency has launched its DETER satellite to monitor the changes in the forest cover in real-time. This was started in 2004 and is now producing reports of deforestation hotspots to law enforcement every two weeks. Because of satellite monitoring, 59,000 square kilometers of the rainforest has already been protected from deforestation from 2007 to 2011.
5. International Incentives
The global community has actually helped in protecting the Amazon rainforest. This is also due to the link between deforestation and climate change. To reduce global emissions, the United Nations has established REDD+ or the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation Programme. Through this program, countries with high carbon emissions pay for carbon storage to preserve the forests in developing countries.
6. Government Pressure
To push the changes in the Amazon rainforest, the Brazilian people and people all over the world have created a social movement to pressure numerous NGO’s and law enforcement to invest in protecting the rainforest. With the cooperation of indigenous groups, environmentalists, and other groups, the higher-ups has been pressured to act fast in saving the Amazon.
7. Amazon Conservation Projects and Trusts
There are also several ongoing conservation projects and trusts that will allow people all over the world, from different backgrounds and walks of life to share their part in saving the Amazon rainforest. You can donate or be involved in organizations and trusts such as:
· Amazon Watch
· Amazon Conservation Association
· Amazon Conservation Team
· Survival International
· International Working Group for Indigenous Affairs
· Rainforest Trust
· Rainforest Action Network
With the contribution of everyone around the world, we can conserve the Amazon for the many years to come.