"Zero" Amazon deforestation possible by 2015, Brazilian NGOs say.

AuthorHerro, Alana

Halting deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is the objective of nine Brazilian nongovernmental organizations that have drafted an ambitious plan to stop clear-cutting in the region within seven years. The groups, which include national affiliates of Greenpeace, WWF, and The Nature Conservancy, presented the proposal at an October event in Brasilia attended by environment minister Marina Silva, state governors, and other authorities.

The plan aims to unite sectors of Brazil's government and civil society in efforts to conserve the biologically rich Amazon region. "This is just the start, but it is a good start," said Silva, who grew up in the Amazon and achieved global recognition as a leading rainforest activist before joining the ministry. "We are building a national plan with common but differentiated responsibilities."

The proposal calls for combining strong public policies with market strategies to achieve annual deforestation reduction targets. It suggests investing roughly US$550 million from national and international sources to maintain existing forests and the environmental services they provide. Other recommendations include strengthening forest monitoring and tax measures and providing economic incentives for indigenous people and rural producers to conserve land. "It is necessary to go beyond 'command...

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