A survey published last week by the Brazilian Federation of Banks (Febraban) shows that 82 percent of Brazilians are unhappy with the preservation of the Amazon Forest. Prevalent among the sentiments elicited by the current situation are sadness (24%), followed by indignation (17%), hope (17%), and fear (11%).
The study heard 1.2 thousand people older than 18 of both sexes, from different age and income groups, all across the country. Another 300 people were heard in the states encompassing the Legal Amazon region.
On the importance of the forest, 37 percent said they regard the region as “the lungs of the world,” i.e. crucial to maintaining water quality. Thirty-five percent said the forest “is Brazil’s biggest natural wealth,” and 12 percent believe that the biome is strategic for “the maintenance of balance in climate.”
Fires and deforestation
Fires and deforestation are the main problems facing the forest in the opinion of 44 percent of Brazilians. Illegal mining, land-grabbing, and the drug and gun trafficking were each named by 12 percent as the main challenges to the preservation of forests and biodiversity.
Deforestation aggravated in last years in the opinion of 77 percent of the population, whereas 14 percent believe its pace has remained the same. Wood extraction is the biggest driver behind deforestation, 48 percent believe, followed by land-grabbing (14%), cattle raising (11%), and illegal mining (11%).
Among the concerns brought about by deforestation, 34 percent mentioned losses in biodiversity, with the deaths of animal and plant species. For 25 percent, deforestation boosts climate change and global warming.
Regarding the measures to tackle forest destruction, 83 percent endorsed tightening up punishments for deforestation; 67 percent opposed the reduction of indigenous reserves; and 86 percent opposed the authorization of mining in territories reserved to traditional peoples.
Indigenous leaders showed the highest percentage of approval in their work regarding the forest, with a positive assessment of 73 percent of the population. The Brazilian Army came second, with 69 percent.
Concerning Brazil’s sovereignty over the region, 54 percent of respondents said the international community has the right to exert pressure for preservation, and 41 percent believe other countries should not utter an opinion about policies for the forest.
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