There is a great difference between the widespread acceptance of the need for some level of protection and restorartion of river borders or marginal strips of rivers, in the one side, and the many lies foreign NGOs which unduly with franchises in Brazil try to present the ongoing debate about the so called “forest code” which is taking place in the Brazilian Congress.
Straight to the facts!
First, the Brazilian so called Forest “Code” was initially passed during the Vargas dictature in 1934; and then it was revised in the beginning of the military dictature, in 1965; it has been never democratically voted prior to be enacted. This is the first time it has been subject to a large number of public hearings all over the country and in the Congress.
Second, the so called “code” issued in 1965 established fixed figures for the width of the river margins to be totally protected from any kind of human occupation, including agriculture. In this “code”, the width of the strip along the edge of any river keeps a relationship to the width of the river. Most evidently, there is no necessary relation between one and the other. In the Amazonian region, flood plains are very large, as opposed to rivers in mountaineous Southern Brazil.
The population of the Amazonian region NEED to be close to the water for fishing, transportation and water supply. This population can not be displaced to a distance of 1 km river edge as measured during flood season because in the dry season they would be located to far from the water. The current “code” establishes a standard 500 meter fully protected area in all rivers larger than 600 meter counting from the highest level of the river during the flood season. The local population got acquainted to live up to flood seasons by building still houses (palafitas).
Third, the Law was changed in 1989 and extended such marginal strips to a minimum of 30 meters from previous 5 meters and to a maximun of 500 meters from previous 15o meter (sse Artigle 2 of the text). Nothing against it. The only point is that the Law is not expected to be in force retroactively! No citizen can go to bed in a legal situation and wake up in the morning as an environmental criminal. The way the revised Law is being interpreted is such that 35 million hectares of currently productive agriculture land in Brazil would have to be destroyed with no compensation to their owners – not to speak about food security, of course.
Are you suprised? That is it, this is Brazil! No National Park is 100% owned by the Government – not even the ones created in the 1950s – due to lack of land acquistion procedures! No National Park has its borders set in GIS – Geographic Information System, but GIS is what is being asked to private owners of land at river margins and other protected areas now. Is it reasonable? No protected area in the river edge has been defined by authorities except in very small tracts of private land when someone requested an authorization to build… and paid for it.
So, human history – human settlements over time – is not at all being considered by these foreign NGOs – and local NGOs funded with foreign money. They need to pretend that the new proposal authorizes deforestation, and reduced protection of surface water and biodiversity. They need to claim that there is an iminent risk of destruction of nature in order fo fund raise abroad.
Do not fund charities like WWF, Greenpeace and alike, because they are simply lying by prividing their donors with a partial vision of what is under discussion… just to get more funds.