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Timber factory in Brazil (symbolic image): Thousands of analysts to monitor the impact

Photo: epa efe Marcelo Sayao / dpa

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva promised to end illegal logging in Brazil when he took office as president in January. But even under the left-wing head of state, deforestation had recently increased and reached an even higher level than under his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro.

With a new plan, the trend reversal in the protection of the rainforest is now to succeed. The Brazilian government wants to take tougher action against violations of the zero deforestation strategy of deforestation in the Amazon region.

"I am determined to resume Brazil's global leadership in climate change mitigation and deforestation control," Lula da Silva said at the action plan launch event in Brasília on Monday.

In addition to higher penalties for illegal logging, mining and fishing, Lula is focusing in particular on increased monitoring – and on a package of measures to expand a green economy. These include the certification of forest products, technical assistance to producers, the provision of infrastructure, energy and internet connections, and the promotion of ecotourism.

Illegally used areas are to be confiscated

Specifically, the action plan provides for the increased use of intelligence and satellite imagery to track criminal activity. The introduction of a rural register to monitor the management of forests and the comparison of data with the financial system and satellite imagery will then put a stop to illegal loggers and ranchers.

"After four years of indifference and neglect," the project marks the return of environmental protection as a priority, Lula said. Among other things, his government wants to immediately confiscate half of all illegally used land within protected areas – and designate three million hectares of additional protected areas by 2027.

Lula, accompanied by Environment Minister Marina Silva, also announced the hiring of thousands of analysts. Brazil is also "of great importance for the climatic balance of the earth" because of the rainforest, Lula said.

The long-term goal of his government: Damaged forests should be able to recover and native vegetation should be promoted, according to the plan. There are also plans to set up a traceability system for timber, livestock and other agricultural products from the Amazon region. Importing countries are increasingly demanding proof that these products do not come from deforested areas.

Under the right-wing Bolsonaro, Brazil joined an agreement with more than 2021 countries in 140 to stop the exploitation of the rainforest by 2030. For Lula, this is now the central goal of his environmental policy.