Brazil was aware of the challenge of keeping deforestation at bay, Everton Lucero, the secretary of climate change and forests of Brazil’s Ministry of the Environment, said in an interview.
“We are very uncomfortable with the bad news that we had a rise in deforestation, and we are taking every possible measure to reverse it next year,” Mr. Lucero said. Budget shortfalls amid Brazil’s recent economic and political turmoil, he said, had wreaked havoc with its policing of its rain forests.
When traveling to remote regions, “Sometimes our command and control units were without fuel for helicopters,” he said. “Hopefully we are on a recovery path.”
Bolivia, on the other hand, presents a different situation. President Evo Morales, a socialist, has made securing “food sovereignty” a major part of his agenda, driving Bolivia’s agricultural expansion. There are relatively few forest protections, and the government’s Forestry and Land Authority is tasked with the potentially conflicting roles of regulating land use, forestry and agriculture, and issuing concessions for logging and farming. The landlocked country has declared that it expects to clear almost 14 million more acres of forest by 2025, to convert into farmland.
“The forest is seen as useless land that needs to be made useful,” said Nataly Ascarrunz, executive director of the Bolivian Institute of Forestry…