I Spy a Great Big Rainforest
The Brazilian government is launching a five-year high-tech project that will use satellites, surveillance aircraft, and radar systems to keep tabs on activities in the Amazon rainforest, which stretches across some 3.1 million square miles of the country. Officials estimate that 5 million acres of Amazon forest are illegally logged each year, and unlicensed gold mining and drug smuggling are also rampant. The new project, being developed by Massachusetts-based Raytheon, is known as the System for Vigilance of the Amazon (SIVAM). “The ultimate goal is to secure sustainable development in the Amazon,” said air force Brig. Gen. Jose Orlando Bellon, who is in charge of SIVAM. A big question is whether the Brazilian government will have the resources to do anything about problems the new system uncovers.