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Crazy new forest law in Brazil, only Dilma can stop this…

Brazil’s Congress approves changes to enviro law, by MARCO SIBAJA, Associated Press

Environmentalists hold up protest signs that read in Portuguese “Veto Dilma” and “Mourning for the Forest” during a session by Chamber of Deputies who are expected to vote on a new forest law in Brasilia, Brazil, Wednesday, April 25, 2012. Environmentalists say that any changes made to Brazil’s benchmark environmental laws will damage the Amazon and other areas.
BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) — Brazil’s lower house of Congress on Wednesday approved a bill that weakens the nation’s benchmark environmental law protecting the Amazon and other areas, a move that some fear will lead to a spike in deforestation.

The agriculture lobby waged a 10-year battle in Brazil’s Congress to make changes to the law, known as the Forest Code. The measure now goes to President Dilma Rousseff, who is expected to sign it but may use her line-item veto power to strike out portions of the bill.

Deputies approved the main text of the measure in a 247-184 vote. Two lawmakers abstained. The Senate in December passed a version of the bill and the House itself had passed a version earlier last year. Some amendments to the bill were still being debated late Wednesday, but the core text passed.

The bill allows smaller farmers and ranchers to work land closer to riverbanks and on hilltops, which environmental activists say will lead to increased deforestation.

“This vote is a big setback,” said environmental lawyer Raul do Valle with the watchdog group Instituto Socioambiental. “What Brazil built for decades, legislation that protected its forests, is being nullified.”

Those who support the bill, however, said it is giving long-needed help to Brazilian farmers forced off the land by the strong environmental restrictions on how they can work.

“We intended to create a text that would not expel a single producer nor a single worker from the Brazilian countryside,” said Deputy Paulo Piau, who introduced the version of bill passed by the lower House.

Backers of the bill also say recent drops in deforestation indicate pragmatic changes to the law can be made without leading to new destruction, by more effectively enforcing environmental protections that until somewhat recently were virtually ignored by Brazil’s government.

About 20 percent of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has been destroyed already. But beginning in 2008, the government stepped up enforcement, using satellite images to track the destruction and sending environmental police into areas where deforestation was happening at its quickest pace.

Amazon deforestation slowed and hit its lowest recorded level from August 2010 through July 2011, when just 2,410 square miles (6,240 square kilometers) were felled.

Opponents of the bill argue that while government enforcement did help slow deforestation, temporary economic factors also played a role — that demand for the cattle, soy, timber and iron ore produced in the Amazon fell in the United States and Europe as the global financial crisis took hold. It’s feared the appetite for those goods will increase and lead to a resumption in destruction once the world economy recovers.

The most contentious part of the new bill is that it scraps most protections for riverbanks that were in the Senate’s version, including maintaining strips of forest 30 yards (meters) to 100 yards (meters) deep along waterways. The House version, which overrides that of the Senate, mandates only that small rivers maintain 15 yards (meters) of forest along their banks.

The legislation gives individual states the power to determine how much area along larger rivers must be preserved as standing forest. Environmentalists say that would be disastrous since many states in the Amazon are dominated by big agriculture and would likely allow farmers and ranchers to work land right up to a river’s edge.

Riverbanks are sensitive to erosion if deforested, leading to degraded land, silty waters and harmed wildlife.

The overhaul also provides an amnesty from harsh fines on farms and ranches of any size that cleared more tree cover than legally allowed, but only for cutting before July 2008. These fines can reach more than $1 million for a single, moderate size ranch of 2,000 acres (800 hectares).

While they would be freed from penalties already levied, bigger landholders would still have to replant most of the land they cleared beyond legal limits or buy and preserve the same amount of forested land elsewhere to make up for what they cut.

Brazil’s agriculture lobby insists the new bill would help ease what they call an unfair burden placed on farmers and ranchers who were once pushed by the government itself to clear the rainforest. Beginning in the 1960s, land was given away as long as 50 percent of a plot was cleared. Other incentives didn’t end until the 1990s.

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Meet Vera, the mother of all sloths in Brasil

Just before Easter we visited Vera at her sloth center in Ilheus, Bahia, Brazil.  Vera spends her entire life with sloths. She never had one single day off in the last 20 years, because her animals request food every day. Not only that, she also takes care of sloths that are hurt or sick, this sometimes is a 24 hour job. On longer trips in her car, there are always 3-4 animals driving with her, mostly kids, because they need to be watched at all times.

Vera with her blind patient.

There are about 30 sloths that Vera takes care off right now. During my first visit in their open air compound it feels like diving for the first time in the ocean, a new fantastic world is unwrapping in front of my eyes. Vera welcomes at times disabled kids, that are positivly influenced already by the presence of the sloths.

Vera is looking forward to your visit in Ilheus, Bahia, Brazil. In case you would like to have more information about Vera’s project, please visit: Thanks for supporting her!

ARFI is talking to Vera about a new common project in the area of Itacaré, since we already encountered the here endemic maned sloth on our protection land.  In case you would like to have more information about the maned sloth, please read the following Wikipedia text:

“The maned sloth is the most endangered mammal in SOUTH AMERICA”

“The maned sloth (Bradypus torquatus), is a three-toed sloth that lives only in Brazil. It is one of only four species of three-toed sloth.

Distribution and habitat

The maned sloth is now found only in the Atlantic coastal rainforest of southeastern Brazil, although it was once also found further north.[4][5] It has been identified predominantly from evergreen forests, although, being able to eat a wide range of leaves, it can also inhabit semi-deciduous and secondary forest. It is typically found in hot, humid climates without any dry season, and with annual rainfall of at least 120 centimetres (47 in).[2] There are no recognised subspecies.

Anatomy and morphology

Maned sloths have a pale brown to gray pelage. Long outer hair covers a short, dense, black and white underfur. The coarse outer coat is usually inhabited by algae, mites, ticks, beetles, and moths. The maned sloth’s small head features fur-covered pinnae and anterior oriented eyes that are usually covered by a mask of black hair. The sides of the maned sloth’s face and neck feature long hair covering the short hair of the sloth’s snout. Facial vibrissae on the maned sloth are sparse.[6] The maned sloth earns its name from a mane of black hair running down its neck and over its shoulders.[4] The mane is usually larger and darker in males than in females, and in the latter, may be reduced to a pair of long tufts. Other than the mane, the fur is relatively uniform in color, and, in particular, the males lack the patch of bright fur found on the back of other, closely related, sloths.[7]

Adult males have a total head-body length of 55 to 72 centimetres (22 to 28 in), with a tail about 5 centimetres (2.0 in) long and a weight of 4.0 to 7.5 kilograms (8.8 to 17 lb). Females are generally larger, measuring 55 to 75 centimetres (22 to 30 in), and weighing 4.5 to 10.1 kilograms (9.9 to 22 lb).[7] Like all other sloths, the maned sloth has very little muscle mass in comparison to other mammals its size. This reduced muscle mass allows it to hang from thin branches.

Ecology and behavior

Maned sloths are solitary diurnal animals, spending from 60–80% of their day asleep, with the rest more or less equally divided between feeding and travelling.[8] Sloths sleep in crotches of trees or by dangling from branches by their legs and tucking their head in between their forelegs.[9]

Maned sloths are folivores, and feed exclusively on tree and liana leaves, especially Cecropia. Although individual animals seem to prefer leaves from particular species of tree, the species as a whole is able to adapt to a wide range of tree types.[7] Younger leaves are preferred to older, and tree leaves are preferred to liana leaves.[10] Individual maned sloths have reported to travel over a home range of 0.5 to 6 hectares (1.2 to 15 acres), with estimated population densities of 0.1 to 1.25 per hectare (0.040 to 0.51 per acre).[7]

Maned sloths rarely descend from the trees because, when on a level surface, they are unable to stand and walk, only being able to drag themselves along with their front legs and claws. They travel to the ground only to defecate or to move between trees when they cannot do so through the branches. The sloth’s main defenses are to stay still and to lash out with its formidable claws. It can swim well.

Life history

Although some reports indicate that maned sloths are able to breed year round,[11] others have observed that the majority of births occur between February and April.[12] The mother gives birth to a single young, which initially weighs around 300 grams (11 oz) and lacks the distinctive mane found on adults. The young begin to take solid food at two weeks, and are fully weaned by two to four months of age.[13] The young leave the mother at between nine and eleven months of age. Although their lifespan has not been studied in detail, they have been reported to live for at least twelve years.[13]


In 1955, the maned sloth occurred only in Bahia, Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro in eastern Brazil, in the Bahia coastal forests. It has declined since then as these forests have dwindled. The major threat to the maned sloth is the loss of its forest habitat as a result of lumber extraction, charcoal production, and clearance for plantations and cattle pastures. Excessive hunting is also a threat – the maned sloth is the most endangered mammal in SOUTH AMERICA”

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For the second time the truly aware organizers of the ROXY SNOWPRO 2012 in Saalbach/Hinterglemm Austria supported the Atlantic Rainforest Institution. They calculated the emissions created by the event. Considering mainly International flights of athletes, construction of the course, kilowatt hours preparing and troughout the event and also access to the event location by media and visitors.

Our …appreciation and thanks go out to Matthias, Roxy Europe, the athletes and all visitors. With the help of the Roxy Snow Pro 2012 a total amount of 1496 m2 of the almost extinct Atlantic Rainforest can be protected for future generations. May this also acts as a possible showcase scenario for other events!

With this Roxy is the outstanding leader on our Business-Donation list, check Let us enjoy our passion when and whereever we feel like. Let’s also be aware of the fact that not every kid is lucky enouhg on this planet to even stand once on a surf- or snowboard in their entire lives. Their CO2 footprint is normally very small, even smaller in 3rd world countries…. therefore we should respect mother nature to the MAX when we play on her grounds and with all respect due, pay back mother nature what we took from her just for our own pleasure.

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a lot of physical work – little online action

Dear Rainforest Friends

The online silence has an end :-) . We are back in Europe after 3 months hard labor in and around the Atlantic Rainforest. Finally we are also back to “normal” internet speed, so we are delighted to update you with what is happening in Brazil. The local internet provider promised to install faster lines beginning of April, we are looking forward to update you more regular in 2012.

The first ARFI office in Itacaré, built out of recycled wine bottles is basically finished. OBRIGADO to all the constructors – Milton, Manuel and helper, Nicolas Müller, Xavier De le Rue, Mirjam Jäger, Richard Permin, JP Walker, Florine Deplazes, Oliver Gittler, Anne-Flore Marxer, Drew Stevenson, the whole Swatch Crew, Moritz & the locals and everybody that helped during the Breathe Brazil Festival! Grand Opening in April 2012, who knows – maybe you are in the area?! Check attached pictures!

Starting April 2012 we will be down in Southern Bahia all year round teaming up with the boardering rainforest school “Escola Bosque da Passagem”. Check back in April when we will invite all of you to donate the school fee for a local kid in Itacaré – so rewarding I tell you…

Short before Christmas I had a truly creative and motivating meeting in Rio with the biggest Bank in Brazil. To reforest and protect rainforest on a big scale we need money, loads of money – yes – it does look very promising – we keep you updated on this matter.

We all wish you a great 2012! May your dreams and wishes realize!! In case you would like to absorb your CO2 emissions with the direct protection of a lot of Atlantic Rainforest, please visit our site at and protect rainforest in one of the 5 remaining biodiversity hotspots of our planet. OBRIGADO!

Thanks and Big Up to Mother Nature!

Chris Bachmann


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Beach Clean Up Itacaré, Tiririca-Beach

August 28th, 2011. The Atlantic Rainforest Institution supports the Beach Clean Up after the “Nordestine Surf Pro” contest in collaboration with the Green-House project. Our rainforest protection plan focuses more and more on social aspects and invited the kids and teenagers of Itacaré to activly participate in the beach clean up.

Este primeiro projeto de preservação ambiental e a estréia da Green House (Casa Verde), uma iniciativa que visa unir e mobilizar a comunidade em um objetivo comun pela preservação da Mata Atlântica.  Varias ONGs de Itacaré, como a Libélula, Punho Forte, Instituto Mata Atlântica (Atlantic Rainforest Institution), ASI e Omon Engoma entre outros, estão apoiando esta ação na praia durante a manha de domingo, 28 de agosto, unidos para coletar lixo. Somos proativos para projetos de reciclagem e distribuição de informação e educação ambiental para todos. Os jovens envolvidos nessa ação estarão demonstrando a sensibilidade e responsabilidade de nossa comunidade para  desenvolver  cada vez mais atividades sustentáveis e fortalecer a implementação de projetos de reciclagem .
Em anexo a apresentação do projeto em pro da natureza.
Participem e mandem a vossa logomarca até quarta-feira para este contato, assim serão incluídos na divulgação como parceiros desta idea e este movimento importante.
Precisamos  de voluntários pela limpeza, sacos de plástico grandes, lanches, frutas, água de beber. Junte – se a nos pra articular a sua galera e doar-se para que este evento seja a ante prima de uma mobilização em massa e de  continuidade  para a sustentabilidade e beneficio do nosso paraíso ecológico. Apóie, participe, tome atitude…
Obrigada pela atenção

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Apes are descended from divas…

biologists find rare pack of singing gibbons

Schopfgibbons: Singende Affen verzücken Umweltschützer
July 18, 2011
You couldn’t make it up.

Der Spiegel has a story of a rare colony of monkeys, Nomascus leucogenys, living near the Vietnam border with Laos, and singing quite accurately to one another, sometimes in duets.

They are threatened with extinction. Conservationists are studying them to death. Followed, no doubt, by musicologists who would not recognise a mortal specimen if it was alive. The monkeys are reported to have doubled their fees and are looking to vultures for representation.

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Hydroelectric dam in the heart of the Amazon

Brazil grants building licence for Amazon dam

Brazil’s environmental protection agency has granted a licence for construction of a massive hydroelectric dam in the heart of the Amazon jungle.

 Brazil grants building license for Amazon dam

The Urubamba river in the Amazon Jungle Photo: REUTERS/Pilar Olivares

It’s the second to last licence the Belo Monte dam project must obtain.

The Ibama environmental agency says in a statement that the project planned for Para state went through a “robust analysis” of what damage it would inflict on the environment.

The £6.7 billion project has been fiercely criticised by environmentalists and others who say it would devastate the ecosystem and force 40,000 people who live in the area to relocate.

The government says it will be a much-needed source of clean energy.

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animal encounters on your ARFI land




In case you never had the chance to visit us in Itacaré, we gonna show the magical flora and fauna of the area by pictures!

Probably one of the smallest frogs of our planet. Chilling on the fingertip.













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Small homepage uptade in April

Small homepage-update soon! Stay tuned!!!

17.03.2011, 18:31 – Small homepage-update soon! Stay tuned!!!

Look forward to our homepage-update in April. Learn more about two new ARFI-invovments on site in Itacaré:

- the most poisoned snake in South America, a project in Serra Grande by Dr. Rodrigo.

and the rainforest school “bosque da passagem” which boarders our new ARFI-office… stay tuned!

In the meantime we can tell you that our Paypal service is up and running again. Thanks for supporting a small true project that really needs your help to fight deforestation and corruption.

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