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Saving Amazonia: Winning the war on deforestation

Source:  Copyright 2012, BBC
Date:  January 2, 2012
Byline:  Justin Rowlatt
Original URL: Status ONLINE
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For years, the story told about the Amazon has been one of destruction - the world's largest rainforest, a region of amazing biodiversity, key to the fight against climate change, being remorselessly felled. But that is no longer the whole truth.

The Environment Agency special ops team gathered in a sultry town right on the southern edge of the Amazon. A group of officers, men and women, were relaxing in the shade of a majestic mango tree outside their offices. They were smoking and chatting.

These aren't bureaucrats with crumpled suits and clipboards. In Brazil, environment agents wear military fatigues, with heavy black pistols slung casually on their thighs.

These officers are, as I was to discover, soldiers on the front line in what Brazil regards as a war - a war to protect the Amazon rainforest.

I'd been invited along on one of the agency's routine raids in the jungle. The idea was to target a gang of illegal loggers the satellite ...

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