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Brazilian police in huge crackdown on Amazon deforestation

by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro (AFP) Feb 26, 2008
Three hundred police and security agents have been deployed to the Amazon in a massive crackdown ordered by the Brazilian government against loggers illegally stripping the forest, officials said Tuesday.

"Operation Arc of Fire" was started Tuesday in the Amazon town of Tailandia, 250 kilometers (150 miles) from the city of Belem, the head of the state environmental agency Ibama, Flavio Montiel, told AFP by telephone.

He said the police, rangers and environmental ministry agents were inspecting forest exploitations for signs of illegal tree-felling, which is rife in the region. The operation would last up to three weeks, he said.

In April, a second-phase operation will kick in when 1,000 agents will be deployed to widen the crackdown into other regions in the states of Para, Mato Grosso and Rondonia.

"In all, 36 areas will be inspected in the Operation Arc of Fire," which was mandated under a 2004 preservation plan for the Amazon, Montiel said.

He estimated that the beefed up security presence had already cut logging by 59 percent.

A previous, shorter operation was carried out early this month in Para. In three days, 15,000 cubic meters of illegally cut wood were seized in Tailandia mills.

That initiative was halted when 10,000 people mobbed the officers doing the inspections, complaining that their livelihoods were being threatened.

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Amazon Corridors Far Too Narrow
Norwich, UK (SPX) Feb 19, 2008
Protected forest strips buffering rivers and streams of the Amazon rainforest should be significantly wider than the current legal requirement, according to pioneering new research by scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA). Published in the journal Conservation Biology on March 21, this is the first wildlife study in remnant riparian tropical forest corridors.

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