Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Julia Levin


While the world condemns the destruction of the Amazonian rain forest in Brazil, the United States government allows non-sustainable timber harvesting in the world's largest nontropical rain forest, the Tongass National Forest, in southeastern Alaska. Both United States and Brazilian forest policies developed primarily to create jobs and provide economic stability. The two governments' subsidies and tax incentives have resulted, instead, in powerful private industries and expansive bureaucracies, whose budgets depend in part on continued forest destruction. Although both the United States and Brazil have recently reformed their forest policies, neither country's reforms are broad enough to protect the countries' rain forests in perpetuity. This Note details the origins and effects of the United States and Brazil's forestry laws. It then analyzes recent reforms to the two countries' forestry laws and concludes with proposals for sustainable forestry practices.