Now that China is Brazil’s main trading partner, it significantly influences what happens in the Amazon forest – an important ecosystem for stabilizing global climate – and the attempts to protect that ecosystem, reports Jan Rocha at Climate News Network. The Amazon basin is now China’s primary supplier of natural resources, replacing China’s Asian neighbours as their resources have become depleted. China’s voracious demand for iron ore, aluminum, timber, soy and beef, both fuels deforestation and discourages Brazil’s environmental protection laws, says a new study. Study authors found that “the rapid rise in exports of soy and beef products to China are two of the major drivers of Amazonian deforestation in Brazil”. Chinese purchases of agricultural and forest land, and Chinese financing and investment in Amazonian infrastructure such as railways and mineral processing facilities, also cause environmental impacts in the Amazon, which has already shrunk significantly from past deforestation and now droughts. The authors say the “direct impact of commodity exports is only the tip of the iceberg of Chinese influence on Amazonia.” As Brazilian agribusiness prospers, it has, in turn, successfully pressured lawmakers to further weaken forest protection laws.
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How Beijing is shaping the Amazon February 21, 2013 Brazil’s attempts to protect its Amazon rainforest are now subject to influence from the country’s new main trading partner, China, with far-reaching physical and political consequences. http://www.climatenewsnetwork.net/2013/02/how-beijing-is-shaping-the-amazon/