Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Brazil cracks down on illegal loggers in Amazon,%2BUcayali%2Bregion%2Bin%2Bthe%2BPeruvian%2BAmazon.jpg 

By Raymond Colitt

BELEM, Brazil (Reuters) - Environmental police in Brazil seized the equivalent of 400 truckloads of wood in a major raid on illegal loggers, the government said on Wednesday, the latest effort to curb destruction of the Amazon rain forest.

During the surprise raid in Nova Esperanca do Piria, 120 miles east of Belem city, police shut down 13 logging companies and sawmills, and seized tractors, guns, and ammunition, Environment Minister Carlos Minc said during a visit to the remote jungle site. The owners fled the area.

The crackdown is the latest in a series of measures by the government to meet a new target of reducing destruction of the Amazon forest by 50 percent during the next decade.

"We are determined to slash deforestation -- this operation is a warning to illegal loggers," Minc told Reuters.

Brazil's government last year abandoned years of opposition to deforestation targets and is now under pressure to show the world community and critics at home that it can deliver, particularly ahead of a major climate change summit in Copenhagen in December.

Minc aims to reduce deforestation to about 3,700 square miles (9,500 sq km) in the 12 months through July, the lowest on record and down from 4,600 square miles (11,900 sq km) the year earlier.

Each year advancing loggers, ranchers and farmers cut huge swathes of forest in search of cheap land. …

Brazil cracks down on illegal loggers in Amazon

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