Operation Tolerância Zero against illegal logging in Amazonia
Mato Grosso is one of the nine Brazilian states that are partially covered by the Amazon rainforest. This ecosystem is not only home to 15 to 20% of the world's biodiversity but is also of enormous importance for the global climate due to its ability to store carbon.
To protect this unique habitat, Germany and the UK have been supporting Mato Grosso in the fight against deforestation since 2017 as part of the REDD Early Movers (REM) programme of KfW and GIZ.
The REM programme supports the government in Mato Grosso with the fight against illegal deforestation; for example, within the framework of the Tolerância Zero (Zero Tolerance) initiative. During the ten-day campaign in February and March 2021, various state environmental protection agencies and the police worked closely together to put a stop to criminal gangs. To this end, Mato Grosso uses state-of-the-art surveillance techniques: High-resolution satellite images inform the state authorities about changes in the vegetation in almost real time. With this information, the special operations battalions of the environmental and military police can be directed to the sites of illegal logging in the fastest possible way.
During the ten-day operation, 12 tractors, 6 trucks, 3 grain harvesters, 3 chain saws, 1 helicopter and 450 cattle were confiscated. The public prosecutor's office is taking criminal and civil action against those who illegally cut down the protected rainforest and is imposing heavy fines.
Despite the Corona pandemic, Mato Grosso has set itself the goal of effectively combating illegal deforestation, explains the head of the Tolerância Zero campaign, Bruno Nascimento: "Monitoring did not stop during the pandemic. On the contrary, the actions have intensified and the fight against environmental degradation is permanently continued by the monitoring department of SEMA and partner institutions. Our results show that this is the right way to prevent illegal deforestation in Mato Grosso.”
Between August 2020 and January 2021 alone, deforestation alerts in Mato Grosso decreased by 31.5% compared to the same period last year, a bright spot for rainforest and climate protection.
With Material from the State Ministry of the Environment Secretaria do Meio Ambiente do Estado do Mato Grosso (Sema-MT)