Brazil's government has abolished a vast national reserve in the Amazon to open up the area to mining.
The area, covering 46,000 sq km (17,800 sq miles), straddles the northern states of Amapa and Para, and is thought to be rich in gold, and other minerals. (bbc.com)
The government said nine conservation and indigenous land areas within it would continue to be legally protected.
But activists have voiced concern that these areas could be badly compromised.
Tweet by David de Rothschild: Brazil opens vast Amazon reserve to mining! Greed before survival! Tragic! https://t.co/dypNDyDLRB - on Thu Aug 24 05:37:45
A decree from President Michel Temer abolished a protected area known as the National Reserve of Copper and Associates (Renca). (bbc.com)
Its size is larger than Denmark and about 30% of it will be open to mining. (bbc.com)
Maurício Voivodic, head of the conservation body WWF in Brazil, warned last month that mining in the area would lead to "demographic explosion, deforestation, the destruction of water resources, the loss of biodiversity and the creation of land conflict".
According to the WWF report, the main area of interest for copper and gold exploration is in one of the protected areas, the Biological Reserve of Maicuru. There is also said to be gold in the Para State forest, which lies within the area.
The WWF says there is potential for conflict too in two indigenous reserves that are home to various ethnic communities living in relative isolation. WWF's report said that a "gold rush in the region could create irreversible damage to these cultures".
"If the government insisted on opening up these areas for mining without discussing environmental safeguards it will have to deal with an international outcry."(malaysiandigest.com)
Tweet by CFR: In the last 50 years, Brazil's Amazon rainforest has lost nearly 1/5 of its cover. What are the consequences? https://t.co/kZzQvgUDmB - on Sat Aug 19 19:30:19
A study by King's College, London has predicted that there will be an annual loss of 0.3% of the forest cover based on the increase in future rate of deforestation. The study is based on the Global Forest Change data set (2000-2012). By the year of 2260, much of the Amazon rainforest will be lost forever. (vividmaps.com)