(AP) President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva created three nature reserves in the Amazon on Thursday, while warning foreigners they lack the "moral authority" to tell Brazilians how to preserve the rain forest.
Silva also announced he would send a bill to Congress to create a national policy on climate change, without providing further details.
"The territory is ours, but we want to share with humanity the benefits we are creating through preservation, because we want everybody to breathe the green air created by our forests," Silva said.
But he dismissed meddling from abroad.
"We can not permit people to try and write the rules about what we can do in the Amazon, Silva said, adding a dig at critics in developed nations as "people who cut down the forests they had or didn't have, people who emit CO2 like no one else."
The decree timed to coincide with World Environment Day creates a national park that is off limits to logging and development, as well as two "extractive reserves" where local communities are allowed to harvest rubber, nuts and fruit while preserving the forest.
Together, they cover 6.4 million acres (2.6 million hectares).
The announcement comes days after satellite photos revealed Amazon destruction appeared to be on the upswing after three years of declines.
It also follows the resignation of Environment Minister Marina Silva, a noted rain forest defender unrelated to president, stirring concern that the government's pro-development wing would now determine the future of the world's largest remaining tropical wilderness.
The president said Brazil is trying to develop the rain forest in a sustainable way.
"There is a consciousness in Brazil that environmental protection and development are not incompatible," Silva said.