Carta Capital publica artigo ‚??Meio ambiente e interesse nacional‚?Ě, Virg√≠lio de Viana

30 September 2010 - The article "The environment and national interest", written by the general superintendent of the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), Virgilio Viana, published foi […]

Source: Amazonas Sustainable Foundation

The article "The environment and national interest", written by the general superintendent of the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation (FAS), Virgilio Viana, was published by the magazine Carta Capital.  

Read the original link HERE.

Article Charter Capital:

Environment and national interest

Por Virgilio Viana *

The debate on the Forest Code has been marked by a polarization is less than desirable. On the one hand, ruralistas advocating for the reduction of its environmental protection obligations. In other, resisting changes in environmental legislation. Nesta is of Braco, the report by Mr Aldo Rebelo just cater to the interests of ruralistas, leaving environmentalists revoltados. But serious: this debate has failed to point out the best way to serve the interests of Brazil.

We need to go beyond this primary polarization and ask a simple question, But strategic: is the national interest is more or less strict forest conservation in Brazil? To answer this quest√£o, is essential to understand the strategic importance of forests for the country's development in the century 21.

If forests are seen as a hindrance to agricultural production, power generation and economic growth, The conclusion is clear: we should be lax, allowing and legalizing the continued deforestation. So, rise to maximum acreage, job creation, food production and exports.

If forests are seen as a strategic asset of the country, for both agribusiness and for cities and industry, completion is obvious: we should be very strict, promoting the recovery of forest cover in intensively cultivated landscapes, and while minimizing deforestation and forest degradation in the agricultural frontier. Nesta perspective, we do not understand the forests as a hindrance, but as a strategic asset and a competitive edge in Brazil.

The strategic role of forests can be explained by three main dimensions. First, forests are essential to the sustainability of our development. We depend on forests for maintaining rainfall, the river flows and control of pests and diseases in agriculture. Landscapes with little forest cover have a higher incidence of pests and diseases, resulting in higher production costs and greater pesticide contamination. Without a balanced diet of rain, decreases the productivity of agriculture. Small farmers are the most vulnerable. Without a regular flow of rivers, decreases the power generation and water availability to supply urban areas. In a context of global climate change, the importance of forests to cities and agriculture assumes even greater.

Secondly, forests are essential for access to major markets of commodities of agribusiness. Interest to the agribusiness, especially segment exporting, a green image. This is not a challenge of advertising and marketing, but management of environmental quality in agriculture. In a context where non-tariff barriers are used in an ever more frequent, Brazilian competitors use and abuse the relationship between our ethanol, soybean and beef with deforestation.

Even though often in exaggerated or even improper, this' forest footprint” Brazilian agribusiness is and will remain a barrier to new markets, especially in most industrialized economies and societies more informed. Num pela internet connected world, these barriers should increase environmental.

Thirdly, forests are important for the cycles and ecological processes that sustain life on Planet Earth. As yet we have no choice cosmic, we have no alternative but to take care of this battered old planet. To continue the current pace of environmental degradation, the path is clear: we can not offer ourselves a decent future. If we think of our children, grandchildren and their descendants, the horizon it is most alarming.

These three dimensions – that could be expanded by the space was a book – lead us to an obvious conclusion: the national interest is not further reduce forest cover in Brazil. If we do so, everyone will suffer, even the farmers. With fewer forests have a future worse for those who cultivate the land and those who consume foods grown.

We should rather review the Forest Code. Contrary to what some think, he is not good. It is absurd to outlaw all coastal residents of the Amazon or small producers of coffee or fruit south and southeastern Brazil, to name just a few examples.

However, the revision of the Forest Code should be careful and guided by three basic principles: the science, the national interest and common sense. We should not be guided by fear of change, that guides the thinking of some environmentalists; or the short-term view, that guide the thinking of some representatives of agronegócio.A intelligent management of our forest heritage is of national interest. We should use our forests as an asset to maintain basic processes such as the water cycle and the climate balance, in Brazil and the Planet. We should value our forests as carbon sinks, with a market value. We should use biodiversity as an asset for sustainable business. We should invest more in science and technology to increase productivity and reduce the ecological footprint. We should make our agribusiness increasingly green and sustainable, to the health of our streams, the growth of our exports and the sustainability of our development. From Quebra, still gain the corner of bem-te-vis, thrushes and canaries.

* Virgilio Viana is an engineer Forest, Ph.d. column the University of Harvard, is General Superintendent of the Amazonas Sustainable Foundation.