SAO PAULO – President Dilma Rousseff’s administration has invested three times less than her predecessor, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, in efforts to slow deforestation in the Amazon, the non-governmental organization InfoAmazonia said in a report.
The same report concluded, however, that Rousseff’s first administration from 2011-2015 made the most effective efforts against deforestation.
“What the data from this unpublished study show, besides a significant decline in deforestation, is the danger of cutting budget appropriations for a sustainable development policy, which is what produces long-term measures,” InfoAmazonia coordinator Gustavo Faleiros told Efe.
The NGO released the report, titled “Deforestation Policy,” based on the first database tracking budget appropriations and government actions related to the Amazon during Lula’s second term from 2007-2011 and Rousseff’s first four years in office.
“Dilma invested seven times less than Lula in sustainable development activities in Amazonia, such as support for logging, farming and agrarian reform settlements,” the report said.
During Lula’s second term, the budget for forest conservation and sustainable development in Amazon totaled 6.4 billion reais ($1.98 billion), compared to 1.8 billion reais ($557 million), during Rousseff’s first term.
Mauro Pires, an expert on deforestation reduction who worked on the project, said in a press conference that the report was intended to stimulate debate and “help in political action” to achieve the government’s goal of an 80 percent reduction in deforestation by 2020.
The Environment Ministry questioned the report’s figures, saying it does not include budget appropriations for technical personnel and infrastructure, the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper reported.
The 2007-2014 period covered by the report saw an 83 percent reduction in deforestation, a trend that began in the Brazilian Amazon in 2005.
Deforestation, according to preliminary data from July 2013 to July 2014, affected 4,848 sq. kilometers (1,872 sq. miles), compared to 27,772 sq. kilometers (10,724 sq. miles) in 2003-2004.