Statement by the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) on Amazon Deforestation in Brazil
August 28, 2019
The International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE) is a non-governmental scientific organization established in 1989, with affiliated regional societies on all continents, including Latin America. ISEE joins the members and organizations within the global scientific community that have publicly voiced opposition to the Amazon deforestation in Brazil and the dismantling of science-based policies by President Bolsonaro. The spike in deforestation was exacerbated by the federal government’s disinvestment in environmental safeguards and removal of federal support to the control over illegal forest clearing and setting of fires in agricultural frontier areas.
Deforestation to expand cash crops and beef cattle is short sighted and undermines the ecosystem services that forests provide. It also undermines all agricultural production in the long run by disrupting water and soil management. Hundreds of thousands of indigenous and traditional forest peoples rely on the stability of the Amazon for their livelihoods, while over 30 million urban and rural residents in the region depend on the forest’s services for water and climate stability; today they are vulnerable to respiratory ailments from smoke and exposure to agrochemicals sprayed from the air on their communities as “externalities” of regional agribusiness. These issues provide tangible awareness of the adverse impact of reliance on market forces alone to attribute value to resources and people and highlight the need to incorporate a more holistic assessment of economic development which includes ecosystem balance and inter-temporal impacts on equíty.