Even though the new BR-364 branch highway has not been officially approved, local observers say forest clearing is already underway in this remote part of the Brazilian Amazon. Image courtesy of Miguel Scarcello, SOS Amazônia. On the western edge of the Brazilian Amazon, a makeshift dirt road slices through dense rainforest. Along some stretches, the green canopy flanking the roughly-carved road gives way to open sky, felled trees and piles of neatly cut timber. It halts abruptly at the doorstep of Serra do Divisor National Park in Acre state, beyond which untouched forest sprawls over thousands of hectares to the Peruvian border. The stretch of improvised road, which local sources estimate at roughly 20-30 kilometers in length, was carved out in recent months and appears to mark a first step in the construction of a proposed national highway project. When — or if — completed, it will stretch from Cruzeiro do Sul, in the Brazilian state of Acre, to the city of Pucallpa, in the Peruvian Andes. The branch road — not yet officially approved by authorities — would extend the already lengthy BR-364, a highway that winds some 4,325 kilometers (2,687 miles) across Brazil, starting in São Paulo and currently ending in Acre. The new branch road would run another 152 kilometers (94 miles), cutting through Serra do Divisor, a national park federally protected since 1989 and known for its spectacular biodiversity. A waterfall in Serra do Divisor National Park, Acre, Brazil. Image courtesy of ICMBio/Divulgação. The protected area…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer