They denounce a decree that affects the protection of caves in Brazil | News

The Brazilian Society for the Study of Chiroptera (SBEQ) denounced that Presidential Decree 10,935, which modifies part of the protection regulations for Brazilian caves, is an affront to existing legislation and increases the environmental impacts of mining activity in the country.


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“In Brazil, caves in areas subject to environmental licensing must undergo a relevance classification process, with maximum, high, medium and low relevance classes,” the organization told local media on Tuesday.

“Irreversible impacts (destruction) were not allowed in the most important caves,” said the SBEQ, for whom the rule is part of a strategy to end the country’s environmental legislation.

Likewise, the Company explained that unilaterally and with little transparency and without adequate technical discussions, the Decree changed the classification, allowing the environmental licensing body to authorize irreversible impacts “if it recognizes that they arise from an activity or company that is” of public utility. ””.

“These changes are extremely questionable and will generate huge and irreparable impacts,” added the entity, while detailing that thousands of species that inhabit caves, including critically endangered species, endangered species and hyperendemics are greater in risk.

In turn, they warned that the ecosystem services provided by the caves, such as the supply of aquifers and the containment of flood pulses, could be compromised.

“Once again the Federal government opposes the protection of Brazil’s most valuable resource: its biodiversity,” attacked the Society, while assuring that the decree puts the quality of life of the population of the South American giant at risk, as well as the maintenance of its natural heritage.

“SBEQ strongly opposes this Decree and asks the different sectors of Brazilian society to demonstrate for its immediate revocation,” says the organization’s statement.

Decree No. 10,835 was published on January 12 as a provision of President Jair Bolsonaro. It stipulates that the competent environmental licensing body, within the scope of the environmental licensing process, must “evaluate and validate the proposal for classifying the degree of relevance of natural cavities” presented by the entrepreneur, and see its attributes under a local approach.

It empowers the body to authorize negative and irreversible impacts on underground natural cavities that are of the highest degree of relevance and establishes environmental compensation that will serve to create conservation units in areas of speleological interest.

Researchers and experts criticize the decree for facilitating the granting of construction licenses and potentially damaging impacts on Brazilian caves. The decree could mean the disappearance of hundreds of caves and thousands of species that inhabit these ecosystems.

The president of the Society, Enrico Bernard, explained to local media that this measure can cause the emergence of new epidemics and pandemics such as the coronavirus, given the helplessness that the populations of mammals that inhabit isolated cavernous environments will experience.

“Every time you destroy habitats, you put the animals that are in those places in stressful situations. This habitat destruction along with this stress can alter the immune system of these animals and that increases the possibility that viruses and other pathogens that are on the site can express themselves more prominently, “he added.

The scientist explained that when the caves have populations of bats, the greater the destruction of the caves, the more exposed are the bats that are in a situation of stress and must look for new inhabitants and places, which facilitates the transmission of eventual pathogens.