The repaved road would trigger an explosion of deforestation in Amazonas.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is pushing to resurrect a dilapidated highway project that seeks to build a highway through the heart of the South American country’s Amazonas region. Some scientists say the project could determine the future of the Amazon.
The completed project would reconnect Realidade with Manaus, a riverfront metropolis of 2 million people that lies 600 kilometers to the northeast. With BR-319 out of service much of the year, Manaus is consistently reachable only by water and air travel from the rest of Brazil.
Amazon researchers said the repaved road would trigger an explosion of deforestation in Amazonas, currently Brazil’s best-preserved rainforest state precisely because it has few good roads. A highway to Manaus would enable subsistence farmers, land speculators and loggers to penetrate deep into the jungle, said Philip Fearnside, an American ecologist at Brazil’s National Institute of Amazonian Research in Manaus.
A study led by the Federal University of Minas Gerais estimates the project would result in a fivefold rise in clearing by 2030, the equivalent of an area larger than the U.S. state of Florida.
Source: Reuters, teleSUR.