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Lisa Napoli: This week, the Brazilian government began cracking down on illegal logging. Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest is on the rise — 2,700 square miles razed in Brazil over just the last five months. Twice the rate from last year.
From the Americas Desk, Marketplace’s Dan Grech says the battle’s between the government and economic interests.
Dan Grech: Brazil’s federal government launched Operation Arc of Fire in northern Brazil — 300 troops, inspectors and federal police will descend on Amazonian towns like Tailandia to arrest illegal loggers.
Tailandia’s estimated 140 sawmills are expected to fight back. Last week, 2,000 people mobbed federal environmental agents and kicked them out of town.
Claudio Maretti is director of conservation at World Wildlife Fund Brazil. He says townspeople rely on the saw mills for work. But they don’t realize by cutting down their forest, they’re killing the golden goose.
Claudio Maretti: The problem is that the people are making money immediately, but after five years, local people come back to poverty and the logging companies go back to some other place.
Maretti hopes to train the locals in sustainable logging that supports the local economy without ravaging the rainforest.
I’m Dan Grech for Marketplace.
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