Thu, Nov 22, 2012 - Page 9 News List

Deforestation means tough choices for Brazil

Evandro Carlos Selva is one of 1,400 high-tech environmental police who use eyes in space and feet on the ground to patrol a deadly border

By Jonathan Watts  /  The Guardian, SINOP

Whatever the outcome, enforcement will be left to the country’s 1,400 environmental rangers, who must monitor an area that is more than half the size of the US. Carlos Selva says they will be reinforced with extra personnel and better equipment.

However, with market forces and the climate both swinging against them, the risks are also likely to increase. It is a great deal of responsibility for a monthly salary of 8,500 reals (US$4,100).

After a day spent chasing deforesters, the ranger sips a cold beer and weighs up the pros and cons of his job.

“I’m not an ecologist or a greenie. This is just work,” he says. “I’ve never liked people who tell others ‘don’t do this, don’t do that,’ but I’ve started to understand why it is necessary. This is not idealism, I just like to see things done right.”

He can understand why his wife wants him to quit the job. The satellites can only do so much to protect the forest and then it is down to what happens on the ground.

“The good side of being here for several years is that I know the territory. The bad side is that people know where I live,” he says.

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