The “cerrado,” the savannah that is considered the world’s richest in
biodiversity, is the main topic of the 7th International Congress and Exposition
on Forests (Forest 2004), which took place earlier this week in BrasÀlia.
Various segments of the environment/forest community have met during the three-day encounter (September 27-29) to debate environmental issues and offer information that will be useful to governmental and private agents in their future efforts to promote the sustainable development of Brazilian forests.
At the opening ceremony, Dorival Correia Bruni, President of the Biosphere Environmental Institute and General Coordinator of the Forest 2004 encounter, stressed the importance of preserving Brazil’s ecosystems.
He recalled that a large portion of Brazil’s biomes has already been destroyed or gravely damaged by human activities which are conducted in a predatory manner without proper control.
“We need to find a fair model of sustainable development for the region,” Bruni emphasized.
Thanks to the discovery of new technologies, which enabled it to be incorporated into the productive process, the “cerrado,” which covers 24% of Brazil’s territory, has come to play an important role in agricultural development and currently accounts for 58% of Brazil’s soybean crop and 41% of the country’s cattle herd. But this prosperity must be combined with environmental protection and forest conservation.
According to Bruni, the country already has forest policies predicated on sustainable development, but the process of environmental consciousness-raising has still not reached a significant part of Brazilian society. In his view, the task of arousing this kind of awareness in Brazil will still take one or two generations.
In its seven years of activity, the “Forest” encounter has already published over 1,600 articles, exploratory analyses, and research notes on Brazilian environmental and forest development.
This year, with its theme “Rediscovering the ‘cerrado,’ ” the Congress has scheduled roundtables, conferences, and panels to discuss water, climate change, carbon gas sequestration, legislation, industrialization and commercialization of forest products, restoration of degraded areas, ecosystem management, and biomass energy conversion, among other topics.
According to Bruni, by stimulating the exchange of information and knowledge among professionals from different fields, the Forest 2004 encounter intends to elucidate the progress and technological advances that have been made, from technical, political, scientific, economic, and social vantage points.
The main theme is the “cerrado,” but the debates will involve all the major Brazilian forest ecosistemas, such as the Atlantic Rain Forest, the Amazon Forest, the Pantanal Flood Plains, the Semi-Arid Scrub Forest, the Coastal Mangrove Swamps, and the Araucaria Conifer Forests.
“Without a doubt, this is the largest and most important Brazilian forest forum,” Bruni affirmed.
Translator: David Silberstein