14 Apr '11, 1pm

The Cerrado: Brazil’s Other Biodiverse Region Loses Ground

The Cerrado: Brazil’s Other Biodiverse Region Loses Ground

In traveling through some of the Cerrado landscape in Mato Grosso for a story I wrote for VQR http://bit.ly/dV8zEO, I was also struck by Brazilians' disregard for the savannah as a region worth protecting. But as more than one Brazilian pointed out to me, it's not much different than the disregard North Americans have shown for the tall-grass prairie and the other native ecosystems we've exploited in the name of progress. Or rather, it's different in so far as Brazilian farmers in the region -- which, as you point out generally means agribusiness on a giant scale -- are legally required to protect riparian zones and, in forested areas, set aside large percentages of their holdings. True, the laws are poorly enforced and have resulted in a strange patchwork -- effectively, islands of forest surrounded by oceans of soy -- but again, that is not so different from our clearcut...

Full article: http://e360.yale.edu/feature/the_cerrado_brazils_other_bi...

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