Brazil: Plan drawn up by military in the 1970s is revived by Bolsonaro as main soy corridor in Brazil, on the northern border with Suriname

Author: Mongabay, Published on: 15 May 2020

“Bolsonaro revives a plan to carve a road through one of Brazil’s last untouched areas”, 11 May 2020

The plan to extend the BR-163 highway to the border with Suriname was originally drawn up by the Brazilian military dictatorship in the 1970s and has since been revived by President Jair Bolsonaro. The Brazilian government wants to open a road through the largest protected tropical forest area in the world, a territory greater than the United Kingdom. But scientists, environmentalists and indigenous activists are worried it will be another huge infrastructure project that wreaks havoc on the rainforest with scant economic benefits for local people or the nation...“It will be a huge destruction,” says Adriana Tawana Kaxuyana Tiriyó, a member of an indigenous group living in Aldeia Santo Antônio, one of the communities the road will cut across. “...Bolsonaro just wants to plant soy and to take off the timber.”…the BR-163 highway would be extended by about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) over the Calha Norte, a vast forest area located between the Amazon River and Brazil’s border with Suriname. This road already connects the soy-producing regions to the south of Brazil with the river ports of Miritituba and Santarém...“There are 22 million hectares [54 million acres] of protected areas that store carbon,” says Jakeline Pereira, a researcher at Imazon…“This is also essential for controlling climate change.”The Trombetas State Forest, one of the four conservation units that the road would cut through, stores 2.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide — more than Brazil’s entire emissions in 2018. Calha Norte is also an area rich in biodiversity: 40% of its species are found nowhere else on Earth...

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