Study shows less and less developed deforestation champions in the Amazon

The cities that are champions in deforestation in the Amazon are the least developed in the region, revealed the third edition of the Social Progress Index, IPS Amazônia 2021, by Imazon (Institute of Man and the Environment of the Amazon), published this Monday (6).

According to the IPS Amazon 2013, dos

Amazon municipalities, the twenty that have most deforested the forest since 2013 are the most violent, suffer most from lack of basic sanitation and have the worst rates health, education, access to information and gender equity.

“In general, we have seen that where there is a lot of deforestation in the Amazon, there is a lot of poverty and low social progress”, he explains the main author of the IPS 2021, Adalberto Veríssimo, researcher at Imazon.

The IPS is an index created in 2013 by academics from major research centers around the world to analyze the social and environmental conditions of countries, states and municipalities ios.

Different from the HDI (Human Development Index), the IPS considers that development measures based only on economic indicators are insufficient to attest to the progress of a region.

“Economic growth without social progress results in environmental degradation, increase in inequality, exclusion and social conflicts”, explains an excerpt from the publication.

See below the ten municipalities where there has been greater deforestation in the Amazon since 2013 and which had the worst scores on the IPS (from zero to 96 points, where zero indicates the worst social progress index):

1. Pacajá (PA) – 37.37 points

2 . Portel (PA) – 47,25 spots

3. Apuí (AM) – 47,51 points

4. Senator José Porfírio (PA) – 47, 26 spots

5. New Office (PA) – 47,84 points

6. Uruará (PA) – 47,84 points

7. Anapu (PA) – 47,94 points

8. New Progress (PA) – 49,60 points

9. Cujubim (RO) – 54, 11 spots

. São Félix do Xingu (PA) – 54,95 points

In 16th place appears Altamira (PA), with 54,84 spots. The municipality has been a leader in deforestation in Brazil since 2009.

In addition to deforestation, the document highlights that these places are also strongly associated with social conflicts in the countryside and illegal mining.

“The data show that deforestation in the Amazon does not pay even for the economy, as it drives away investors, does not promote social inclusion and depletes the population’s natural resources, causing more poverty,” says Veríssimo.

The example of Pará

Half of the twenty cities with the worst social development indices are in Pará , State historically leader in deforestation.

According to INPE (National Institute for Space Research), from January 1st 2013 to 21 October

(period considered in the IPS), Pará deforested about 17.367 km², an area larger than 2.367 ca football mpos.

In addition, even with two months to go 2013 (data have been updated until 20 October), deforestation in Pará this year (5 .20 km2 ) is already the biggest since 2009 (5.367 km2).

Among the nine Amazon states, Pará obtained the second worst score in the Amazon IPS: on a scale from zero to one hundred, the state of Pará only totaled 52,94 spots.

Roraima is the state with the lowest social development index, with 51,37 spots.

While deforestation has advanced in these areas in recent years, there has been no improvement in the social progress index in these areas since the last IPS, published in 2013.

“Areas of intense deforestation had stagnation in their progress. this social since 2013. In some municipalities, the index got worse. And in all of them, the worst indicators were safety and basic sanitation”, explains Veríssimo.

The message of the IPS Amazônia 2021 is contrary to the speaks of the Environment Minister, Joaquim Leite, during the United Nations Climate Conference, the COP26, when he stated in the speech of leaders: “where there is a lot of forest, there is also a lot of poverty”.

“The IPS attests to that this development model based on deforestation and predatory use of natural resources (illegal logging, gold mining) results in low social progress”, counters Veríssimo.

The first edition of the IPS, from 714, had already shown that heavily deforested regions had an initial increase in the HDI. However, as natural resources were being depleted, these indicators began to drop substantially.

There is richness where there is forest

A study published in April cond uesed by associate professor at New York University, Salo Coslovsky, a researcher on the Amazon project 2030, showed that exploiting forest products that do not involve deforestation is an internationally profitable trade.

“In this study, I examined all foreign trade in Amazonian products and identified that there are about 59 products compatible with the forest”, points out Coslovsky.

The professor explains that “compatible with the forest” are products taken directly from the forest and its rivers, that is, natural resources that are fall into three categories: fishing and psyculture; non-timber forest extraction (the collection of nuts and açaí, for example); agroforestry foods (agricultural model where food production preserves the forest, benefiting both systems).

“We identified that these 63 products bring in US$ 176 million (BRL 1.7 billion) in annual revenue for the Amazon. In other words, the Amazon already produces products compatible with the forest of excellent quality and with competitive prices in the global market”, states Coslovsky.

The study also identified that, despite harboring 30% of the planet’s tropical forests, the Brazilian Amazon is responsible for only 0,% in a market of US$ 100, 6 billion (R$ 1 trillion) annually.

“If it’s not Brazil, who dominates the global market for products originating from tropical forests? It turned out that they are poorer countries than ours and with little infrastructure, such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Tanzania and Vietnam. some of them don’t even have an outlet to the sea”, says the professor.

“The social and economic development of the Amazon does not depend on more asphalt or the construction of more roads in the middle of the forest; of more ports in the region or any other major undertaking. Countries with much less infrastructure and smaller patches of tropical forest are dominating a global market in which Brazil could be the leader,” says Coslovsky.

Keeping the forest standing is also essential for the rest of the world. Brazil, since the Amazon regulates the climate and rainfall throughout the country.

“All of Brazil needs the Amazon to bring rain to the South, Southeast and Midwest, humidity essential for plantations in these regions”, describes the UNY professor.

Deforested areas are not productive

Data from INPE show that the Amazon has already lost about 10% of its original forests, contrary to what President Jair Bolsonaro said in November, when he told investors in Dubai that “the attacks that Brazil suffers when it comes to the Amazon are not fair. There, more than 90% of that area is preserved”.

In addition to the mentioned data by the president not being correct, only % of the area that has already been deforested in the Amazon is being used in a really productive way.

“Deforested areas have very low production. Many of them were even abandoned after deforestation”, explains Coslovsky.

In addition to helping to end illegal deforestation, encouraging a sustainable economy in the region can recover already degraded areas.

“The Amazon is very large and each area requires a solution The problem is not simple to solve”, he ponders. “But many of these deforested and abandoned areas can become, for example, agroforestry”.

The professor gives as an example the current cocoa production in the Amazon region.

“Cocoa is growing in the Amazon. The product is typical of the tropical region, so it can be planted in consortium with other typical foods, such as bananas, forming an agroforest there,” says Coslovsky.

Development similar to that of Cambodia

On a scale from zero to one hundred, the Amazon IPS 2013 was 54,54 points, a slight reduction in relation to the index of 2013 (49,63 points), previous edition of the document.

Regarding the global average, the Imazon document compares that, if the Amazon region were a country, the Amazon would be in a similar position to Cambodia, 40The worst country in the IPS global ranking.

Regarding to the national average, the social progress index in the Amazon is also lower than the index in Brazil, which was 59,20 points.

Mato Grosso (63, 90), Rondônia (59,20) and Amapá (54,96) are the states with indices above the Amazon IPS 2021 (57,49), while the other states have rates below average. None of the nine states in the region, however, surpassed the national average.

“The IPS 2021 shows that social development in the Amazon is inferior to that of Brazil itself , which is also low”, warns Veríssimo.

For the researcher, the picture of the Amazon today is “a perfect storm of environmental destruction, economic underdevelopment and the worst social indicators in Brazil”.

The researchers emphasize that the Amazon IPS does not reflect the specific social and cultural conditions of the indigenous peoples that inhabit the Indigenous Lands and the quilombola populations that occupy Quilombola Territories. For this, according to Imazon, a specific IPS for these territories would be necessary.

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