Brazil Guts Agencies, Clears Way For Unchecked Deforestation

"President Jair Bolsonaro appears intent on decriminalizing Amazon deforestation, ending most fines, straitjacketing law enforcement, and gutting environmental agencies with mass firings."

"The Brazilian government’s environmental agency, IBAMA, has so far this year imposed the lowest number of fines for illegal deforestation in at least 11 years, while the country’s other leading environmental agency and its federal parks’ protector, ICMBio (the Chico Mendes Institute), did not carry out any operations at all to monitor deforestation in May.

These developments, reported by the organizations themselves, reflect the extent to which the country’s environmental policies and law enforcement agencies are being dismantled by the government of President Jair Bolsonaro.

Fines for illegal deforestation were down 34 percent from Jan. 1 to May 15 this year, compared to the same period last year, according to the O Estado de S. Paulo newspaper. This is the largest percentage drop ever recorded in Brazil. In absolute terms, it marks the smallest number of fines ever (850), compared to 1,290 imposed over the same period in 2018."

Sue Branford and Thais Borges report for Mongabay June 10, 2019.

Source: Mongabay, 06/11/2019