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Mail address: P O Box 245 6906 North Perth, WA, Australia
E-mail: Information for Action is a non profit environmental organization committed to environmental change in our global community. Work on the website began in 1999 by President Rowland Benjamin and is maintained by a group of talented volunteers.

Forests of Brazil


Forest and forests of brazil. Image by Information for Action, a website for conservation and environmental issues offering solutions

Original forest: All yellow and green areas Current forest: Dark green and light green areas Original forest remaining: Dark green area

Brazil contains one of the largest tropical rainforests in the world with greater than 40,000 kinds of plants and more species of trees than any other forest. In an area of 2.5 sq kms of tropical forest there are about 250 tree species compared with about seven tree species in an equal area of temperate forest. Two thirds of the Amazon forest is within Brazil and the remainder is in Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Surinam and Venezuela.

Brazil also has the highest rate of tree loss in the world. At present deforestation in Brazil particularly the Amazon region, which is home to 30% of the world's animal and plant life, is on the increase. Large scale resettlement of Brazils urban population, agriculture and resource developments especially for timber are the major contributors of loss and degradation of the Brazilian forests.

It is estimated that 43% of Brazil's total area of 5.26million km2 is frontier forest. Frontier forest is a large block of natural forest than has been relatively undisturbed and is able to support a wide range of animals and habitats. Brazil contributes 17% of the world's remaining frontier forest and has the third largest block of frontier forest in the world.


Since European settlement in Brazil there has been a continual practice of removing vegetation for farming and housing. The settlement of the Amazon region intensified in the 1960s, when the government's tax incentives began encouraging the establishment of farming and cattle ranching in the area.

Nearly 100,000 settlers arrive each year in the Amazonia region. Major concern about the logging process was aroused in the 1970s as people, settlements and industry moved into the rainforests. In the 1970s and 1980s, loggers and farmers cut down and burned vast stretches of the forest. International criticism since then prompted the government to begin action toward preservation.

The greatest increase in the rate of deforestation ever recorded occurred in Brazil in 1994 and 1995 with a tree loss of 29,000km2 per year. From 1980 to 1990, more than one fifth of all tropical forests lost around the globe were as result of the deforestation in Brazil. In 2000 the yearly rate of deforestation in the Amazon was 19,836km2 as compared to 13,000km2 per year of tree loss initiated since 1995.

Recent findings show that the deforestation in the Amazon is on the increase. During 2000, the rate of deforestation in the Amazon was greater than the rate of tree loss recorded since 1995. Logging and agricultural clearing were the main causes of the loss of an area about the size of Belgium during the last year between 2000 and 2001.

Jann and forest. Image by Information for Action, a website for conservation and environmental issues offering solutions

What you can do

Buy natural forest products that are made by companies that operate by fair trade practices and are environmentally responsible. Do not buy imported wood that encourages the destruction of forests in Brazil. If unsure, ask and research about the company.

Support forest action groups with a donation or volunteer to work with organisations, which promote the conservation of the Brazilian forests. Support eco-tours if you visit Brazil.

Do not buy imported hardwoods this will encourage the destruction of the world's rainforests. Use recycled timber when possible. Use timber in preference to non-renewable resources like metal and plastic.

Use recycled paper and help promote this product to your local council, government offices and schools. Environmentally friendly office paper is 100% recycled post consumer waste, or uses plantation timber and is without chlorine bleaching.

Send our letter to the Brazilian government. The letter is explained below in English. On the letter page of our web site however, it has been translated into Portuguese for the benefit of Brazilian readers.

Dear Minister, I wish to raise my concern regarding the loss and degradation of forests in Brazil. I am concerned at the rate in which these precious resources are being cut down. From 1980 to 1990 more than one fifth of all tropical forests in the world were lost as a result of deforestation in Brazil. Current findings suggest that deforestation in the Amazon is on the increase with the greatest rate of tree loss recorded in 2000. At this current rate there will be little forest left in only a few years.

Large foreign timber companies and small-scale farmers have caused the disappearance of large areas of the Amazon forest. A combination of legal and illegal logging is the main cause of deforestation. Fires lit by farmers to clear vegetation for pastures and accidental fires as a result of the spreading of small fires have been responsible for almost half of all the area burned in the Amazon region. Oil exploration and gold and diamond mining are also a continuing threat to the forests.

Deforestation through these practices has caused the loss of habitat and species diversity. As much as thirty percent of the world's plant and animals found in the Amazon are under threat. At least one species is driven to extinction everyday. The livelihood and survival of the Amazonian tribes is also at stake. Social problems, poverty, isolation and disease are all consequences of the destruction of the forests on which the Indian tribes depend for their survival.

The Brazilian Government must act now to implement a more effective rainforest conservation policy. It must limit the operations of large foreign timber companies and land clearing by farmers to ensure sustainability of the forests and the livelihood of the Indian tribes. The forest is more valuable left undisturbed; it contains the greatest pool of genetic material on earth. A minimum of 25 per cent of the rainforest should be protected within nature reserves. The situation is critical and I urge you to act now before there is nothing left to save.


Causes of deforestation

Effects of deforestation

Solutions for Brazil's forests

Green Sowers solutions


Search our database for the contact details of organizations that directly address Forests in Brazil

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