Tumucumaque and Stomachache
There’s good news and bad news from the Amazon. Good news first: The Brazilian government has announced the creation of the world’s largest tropical forest reserve — the 9,562,770-acre Tumucumaque National Park, in the northern Amazonian state of Amapa. The bad news is that even such a large park seems like a Band-Aid effort for Brazil’s rainforest, which is disappearing at the rate of more than 6,000 square miles per year — an area about the size of Connecticut. The loss is likely to increase as the government moves ahead with a $43 billion development project known as Brazil Advances, which will include paving a 1,100-mile highway through the heart of the forest. One of the main (if unlikely) culprits in the deforestation of the Amazon is the soybean — or, more specifically, skyrocketing demand for it in China. Brazil, which is the second largest soybean exporter after the U.S., is rushing to meet that demand — and logging and burning its forest for croplands in order to do so.