Brazil enacted a controversial law on Thursday meant to protect forests and force farmers to replant trees on scattered swathes of illegally cleared land totaling an area roughly the size of Italy.
The law, signed by President Dilma Rousseff, overhauls the "forest code," a set of laws unchanged for decades that dictates the minimum percentage and type of woodland that farmers, timber companies and others must leave intact on their properties.
The new code, following years of tense negotiations with Brazil's powerful farm lobby, is considered necessary to help establish clearer rules for the ranchers, soy growers and other producers who pushed into the Amazon rainforest and other sensitive climes in recent decades, enabling Brazil to become one of the world's biggest exporters of food.
The farm lobby, with influential legislators from parties across the political spectrum, pushed for a new law to end uncertainty over rules for land use. Doubts ...