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Brazil Tightens Controls on Power Saws to Protect Rain Forest

July 6, 1990

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) _ The government on Thursday imposed stricter controls on the sale and use of power saws in an effort to protect the Amazon rain forest.

Power saws must be registered with the government, and landowners will need a license to cut down trees, the Brazilian Institute for the Environment said.

Stores that sell power saws also must be registered, the institute said. Manufacturers of saws will be required to put the I.D. number and production series in a readily visible place on the equipment.

″We are transforming an instrument of work into a weapon that will impede the destruction of the plant covering of Brazil,″ institute president Tania Munhoz told reporters.

The sale of power saws without a license will be considered a crime against the environment, carrying a penalty of up to three months in jail and a fine of as much as $500, she said.

Ms. Munhoz said there are more than 400,000 power saws in Brazil. Until now, there were no controls on their use, especially in the vast Amazon jungle.

The government estimates that 8 percent of the 2 million square-mile wilderness has been destroyed by farmers and ranchers.

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