Urgent Action Needed: Brazil's Caatinga Biome Faces Devastating Losses, Calls for Robust Conservation Measures


Brazil’s caatinga biome has suffered a significant loss, with 34 million hectares out of its total 82.6 million hectares already degraded, cautioned Rodrigo Agostinho, the head of Brazil's

environmental authority, Ibama. Speaking at a scientific seminar on the biome, attended by Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Marina Silva, Agostinho emphasized the urgency of addressing the challenges to prevent further deforestation in this northeastern region of Brazil.

Agostinho emphasized the necessity of implementing targeted public policies for the caatinga biome, given the alarming rate at which unique species are being affected by human activities. He highlighted that 60 percent of the native vegetation in the caatinga has been altered due to various anthropogenic activities such as deforestation, repeated burning, selective extraction of vegetation and animals, and the introduction of non-native species.

These activities have led to adverse effects like desertification, affecting over ten percent of the biome. Agostinho stressed the importance of establishing conservation units, restoring native vegetation, and collecting data for effective protection and sustainable usage of the caatinga.

Additionally, Agostinho pointed out the need to improve environmental licensing processes and demarcate the territories of traditional communities to prevent their displacement by sudden industrial activities.

Regarding the energy transition, Agostinho urged for a balanced approach that promotes renewable energy sources like wind and solar without compromising the integrity of the caatinga through deforestation. He emphasized the importance of preserving native vegetation even as the region seeks to expand renewable energy infrastructure.

Agostinho highlighted Ibama’s recent efforts to combat deforestation in the caatinga, including increased inspections, fines, embargoes, and seizures. However, he stressed the necessity of implementing more robust strategies to effectively address the issue.

Minister Marina Silva echoed Agostinho's concerns, emphasizing the government's commitment to protecting Brazilian biomes. She cited the Ecological Transformation Plan introduced by the Ministry of Finance during the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) as a significant step towards this goal.

Silva underscored the moral and environmental imperative of combating deforestation, emphasizing the importance of preserving the world's diverse ecosystems. Photo by Arturalveees, Wikimedia commons.

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