Why We Need ARPA

The Amazon Region Protected Areas (ARPA) program is a sweeping safeguard for the Amazon rain forest. It will ensure the survival of Earth's richest biological treasures. This is a partnership with the Brazilian Government, the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (FUNBIO), the German Development Bank (KFW), the Global Environmental Facility, Greenspan, WWF, Conservation International, and many others. It's a ten year effort to save an additional 33% of the Amazon rain forest.

January 6th, 2005 - By Melissa Mathis, Greenspan

The Brazilian Amazon basin contains the largest tropical rain forest reserve.

ARPA (The Amazon Region Protected Areas program)  preserves a full third of the Amazon rainforest.

TUMUCUMAQUE    (too-moo-koo-mah-kay) was the first ARPA reserve. It's four times the size of Yellowstone.

THE AMAZON   is home to over half of the world's species. It's the lungs of the planet, and the pharmacy of the world.

Email Campaigns:  Sending letters and emails to elected officials is one way to let them know your preferences regarding U.S. involvement in protecting the environment.

INDUSTRY    Greenspan helps industry recycle what businesses throw away.

EDUCATION   Greenspan offers  lesson plans: the Science Project, Environmental Education, Botany, Animal, and Ecology Guides.

Last year's rate of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is almost as high as the

record—a loss of 11,200 square miles in 1995. The Brazilian Administration's plan of

action to preserve the rainforest has not been properly implemented, environmentalists

say, because 6,949 square miles have been destroyed on average for the past ten years, and seventy percent of last year's destruction occurred between May and July of 2004 when the Brazilian government had already put their plan into effect.


Agribusiness is clearly one of the forces behind this destruction. Almost half of

the deforestation is in Mato Grasso, which is governed by one of the largest soybean

farmers in the world.


Brazil is now a major agricultural force. Brazil hosts the world's largest beef herd,

and has expanded their soybean production enough to rival the United States'. Brazil may soon be the world's largest soybean producer.


Many soybean farmers claim to buy only cleared land, but the success of the

soybean industry has actually taken a toll on the environment because it has driven up the value of the cleared areas of jungle. This leads ranchers to sell off their cleared land and then clear more jungle, environmentalists say. The ranchers make a double profit by selling the cleared land for soybeans and selling the wood from the land they clear to loggers. It's a vicious cycle accelerating the already rapid destruction.


Brazilian beef-exports have increased rapidly as a result of the risk of mad cow

disease in other beef-exporting nations. The number of cattle in the Amazon has more

than doubled from 26 million in 1990 to 57 million in 2002.


Brazil's rainforest comprises 60 percent of the country. As much as 20 percent of its 1.6 million square miles have been destroyed, claimed by a combination of development, logging and farming. In 2003, another 9,500 square miles vanished. At this rate of destruction the Brazilian rainforest could be entirely destroyed within 40 to 50 years.


At the last Earth Summit Brazil wanted to join the efforts of ARPA, the Amazon

Region Protected Areas program, which would set aside one-third of the remaining

rainforest. The problem is Brazil is a poor nation, and though they see the importance of the program and want to participate, they just don't have the total resources needed. That is the reason they are asking the entire world to help. To donate to this cause click here.   (Read More)

© 2006 Greenspan
Photo and design credits: © 2006 John Chiappone