Over the past year, deforestation of the Amazon basin has increased dramatically, by around 30 percent. Much of the precious rainforest in Brazil is felled and burned down to make room for soya plantations and cattle ranching. In the course of the past decade, Norway has been a generous contributor to Brazilian conservation efforts, and it is expecting results for its pretty penny.
"This is not a trend that should be allowed to continue, because Brazil's rainforests are the world's largest and are of great significance for the world's climate," Vidar Helgesen told Norwegian national broadcaster NRK commenting his visit to BNDES, the Brazilian bank that manages the Norwegian-sponsored Amazon Fund.
"We have a performance-based approach. And that means that we are paying for results when it comes to stopping deforestation. And with no results, there won't be much money to rely upon," Vidar Helgesen told NRK.
Meanwhile, deforestation in the Amazon region has increased so sharply that even the Amazon Fund itself is in despair over the recent developments.
"We are working hard to save the rainforest, and we have initiated many projects to get residents of the Amazon region to start alternative businesses that do not damage the forest. But after years of progress we are now seeing a negative development that we must stop at all costs," Amazon Fund manager Juliana Santiago said.
The Amazon rainforest covers most of the Amazon basin of South America, encompassing 7,000,000 square kilometers. The majority of the forest is contained within Brazil. Amazonia represents over half of the Earth's remaining rainforests with an estimated 390 billion individual trees divided into 16,000 species.
Norway has been recognized as one of the world leaders in global anti-deforestation efforts, investing over $2.5 billion into conservation commitments since 2007. Brazil, Indonesia, Peru, Guyana and Congo basin nations in Africa have all been major grant recipients.
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