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No amnesty for Amazon deforestation: Brazil

by Staff Writers
Brasilia (AFP) Feb 11, 2008
Brazil's government on Monday dismissed reports suggesting an amnesty was being considered for landowners who were contributing to the deforestation of the Amazon.

Brasilia "is not working on any amnesty proposal for those behind illegal deforestation or on any weakening of legislation" protecting the woodland, Environment Minister Marina Silva told reporters.

She and Agriculture Minister Reinhold Stephanes criticized a congessional committee bill that aims at revising current environmental protection laws for the Amazon by giving landowners more leeway to clear vegetation.

That text, if passed, "would not result in lesser deforestation but rather the legalization of passive environmental protection, and would cause more deforestation," Silva said.

Brazil is currently redoubling efforts to conserve the Amazon -- sometimes called the "lungs" of the planet for its role in absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen -- after seeing increased deforestation in the last half of 2007.

It is stepping up monitoring by police and rangers, and reinforcing penalties against cattle ranchers and loggers who violate the protection laws.

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FAO warns of 'alarming' loss of mangroves
Rome (AFP) Jan 31, 2008
Mangrove swamps have shrunk by an "alarming" rate though their disappearance is slowing with improved awareness of their importance to biodiversity, the UN food agency said on Thursday.

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