Brasilia: The Brazilian government will use "electronic markers" to detect illegal felling of trees in the Amazon forests via satellite as illegal encroachment has threatened the sensitive ecosystem.
Officials said the protected Amazon forests are being cleared illegally to set up ranches. The satellite will help monitor cattle herds and ranchers who illegally cut trees, Agriculture Minister Reinhold Stephanes said.
Ranchers will be required to place "electronic markers" along the boundaries of their properties that will be monitored via satellite, allowing officials to monitor the movement of herds and verify the status of nearby forests every six months.
The markers will allow officials to track the movement of herds in "real time", Stephanes said.
He added that if the ranchers were found to have cleared the rainforest, their markers will be removed, preventing them from selling their cattle.
The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) has developed the system in collaboration with other stakeholders.
On-site tests of the new system are slated to start Jan 1 in an area spanning 150,000 sq km in southern Para state, the easternmost region of the Amazon, where 15,000 cattle ranches operate.
The satellite monitoring will be expanded to the entire state over a period of 18 months and later to other parts of the Amazon region, a spokesman of the agriculture ministry told EFE.