BBC correspondents' Amazon reports

BBC correspondents' Amazon reports

Soya cultivation, Mato Grosso

Brazil is the biggest exporter of soya beans in the world

Who should decide the fate of the Amazon rainforest? The people who live there? The Brazilian government? The international community? Or individuals all over the world?

On Thursday May 15, BBC correspondents examined the Amazon Paradox, the struggle between the needs of local people to exploit the rainforest and the global need to preserve its unique nature and resources for the whole world.

Here are a selection of the best reports of the day:

End of Section

A remote tribe in the Brazilian Amazon says illegal loggers have already cleared around 40 per cent of their land, while the government has ignored their pleas for help.

The Tembe indians say that as the authorities failed to act, some of their community also became involved in selling wood illegally, but for now this has stopped.

Now they say the authorities should recognise they too have the right to make some money from the wood that surrounds their reserve by providing a plan for sustainable development.

The BBC's Gary Duffy has been to the state of Para in northern Brazil to meet one of the leaders of the small Tembe indian community:

Listen Listen to Gary Duffy's report (4 mins 13 secs)

End of Section

Brazil has the biggest commercial cattle herd in the world, and is the world largest exporter of beef, selling more than $4 billion dollars worth last year.

Cattle rancher in Mato Grosso state, Brazil (Fernando Cavalcanti)

Mato Grosso has one of the Amazon's highest deforestation rates

However commercial cattle farms are pushing up against and into the Amazon rainforest, and beef farming is seen as one of the biggest causes of deforestation.

One of the cattle farmers in Mato Grosso state who is trying to make a difference while maintaining a commercial operation is John Carter.

But it hasn't been an easy ride, as the BBC's Carolina Glycerio found out when she went to meet him:

Listen Listen to John Carter (5 mins 57 secs)

End of Section

Environmental activists in Brazil say that one of the most important ways of preserving the Amazon rainforest is to set up a system of ethical logging.

They want patches of the forest to be leased to companies that register with internationally recognised schemes.

One of the most successful so far is the Brazil branch of the Forest Stewardship Council or FSC.

According to Friends of the Earth, more than a million jobs have been secured as a result of FSC certification.

The BBC's Fergus Nicoll has been investigating the effectiveness of the FSC system from forest to furniture showroom:

Listen Listen to Fergus' report (5 mins 9 secs)

First broadcast 15 May 2008

End of Section

Manaus is the capital of Amazonas, a Brazilian state.

Teatro Amazonas, Manaus

Teatro Amazonas, Manaus

It sits in the middle of the rain forest, and it occupies a central position in debates over the region's future.

But its history is rich, too.

Manaus was the centre of the 19th Century rubber boom.

As The World's Alex Gallafent explains, the rubber barons created something you might not expect to find in a rain forest: an opera house.

Listen Listen to Alex's report (4 mins 31 secs)

First broadcast 15 May 2008

The World is a BBC World Service radio co-production with Public Radio International and WGBH in Boston.

It airs daily in the United States on nearly 250 American public radio stations.