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Brazil Plans to Survey Amazon Rainforest

Jan 27, 2013 05:52 AM EST
Amazon deforestation
An aerial view shows illegal deforestation close to the Amazonia National Park in Itaituba
(Photo : Reuters)

Brazil's forest ministry has announced plans to carry out a survey of the Amazon rainforest.

This is the first time in more than 30 years that an extensive survey will be conducted to record an inventory of the trees in the Amazon forest, which is the world's largest rainforest. According to forest minister Antonio Carlos Hummel, the project would take four years to get completed and would provide details about tree species, soil and the region's biodiversity, reports BBC.

In 2009, the Brazilian government had pledged to reduce the destruction of the Amazon rainforest by 80 percent by 2020. Various factors such as deforestation, logging, climate change and clearing of vegetation to expand the area for agriculture have contributed to the destruction of the Amazon rainforests.

The government claims that the year 2012 saw a significant reduction in the shrinking of the Amazon forest. It reached its lowest level ever since the forest has been monitored for more than two decades. Since 2004, deforestation has declined in the forest to a large extent, but logging and clearing of vegetation has continued to impact the area.

The survey will provide more accurate data and detailed knowledge about the forest. This would help in formulating better environmental policies to protect the species, according to environment minister Izabella Teixeira.

"In international debates about climate change, for example, we will know how much forest we have and what state it is in (...), we'll discover species, and gain knowledge about species becoming extinct, as well as information about the distribution of the forest and its potential economic use," Teixeira told BBC.

As the census progresses, partial results of the survey will be released on a yearly basis.

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