Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon is worst in 15 years

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon is worst in 15 years

Rio de Janeiro The deforested region of the Brazilian Amazon has reached a 15-year high after a 22% jump from the previous year, according to official data published Thursday.

The Prodes Monitoring System of the National Institute for Space Research showed that the Brazilian Amazon lost 13,235 square kilometers of rainforest in the 12-month reference period from August 2020 to July 2021. This is the most since 2006.

Its highest levels in 15 years in the face of recent attempts by the Bolsonaro government to bolster its environmental credibility, after it presented overtures to the administration of US President Joe Biden and forged ahead with its commitment to end illegal deforestation at the United Nations climate summit in Glasgow. Month. The space agency’s report, released Thursday, is dated October 27 – before talks began in Glasgow.

Before Jair Bolsonaro’s term began in January 2019, the Brazilian Amazon had not registered a single year with more than 10,000 square kilometers of deforestation in more than a decade. Between 2009 and 2018, the average was 6,500 square kilometres. Since then, the annual rate has jumped to 11,405 square kilometers, and the three-year total is larger than the area of ​​Maryland.

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“It’s a shame. It’s a crime,” Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of Climate Watch, a network of nonprofit environmental groups, told The Associated Press. “We’re witnessing the destruction of the Amazon rainforest by a government that has made environmental destruction its public policy.”

Bolsonaro took office with promises to develop the Amazon, rejecting global outcry over its destruction. His administration distorted environmental authorities and supported legislative measures to ease land protections, encouraging land grabbers. This week at a conference in the United Arab Emirates to attract investment, he told the crowd that attacks on Brazil for deforestation are unfair and that most of the Amazon is still pristine.

Brazil’s environment ministry did not immediately respond to an email from the Associated Press requesting comment on Prodes data showing increased deforestation.

Para state accounted for 40% of deforestation from August 2020 to July 2021, according to the data, the most of any of the Amazon’s nine states. But the annual increase was slight compared to the states of Mato Grosso and Amazonas, which together accounted for 34% of the destruction in the region. The two countries experienced 27% and 55% deforestation, respectively.

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Early data for the 2021-2022 reference period indicate a further deterioration. The space agency’s monthly monitoring system, Deter, detected a year-over-year rise in deforestation during September and October. Deter is less reliable than Prodes, but is widely seen as a leading indicator.

“This is the real Brazil that the Bolsonaro government is trying to hide with fanciful rhetoric and green washing abroad,” said Mauricio Vojvodic, executive director of the international environmental group WWF in Brazil, in a statement after Prodes’ data was published. “The fact shows that Bolsonaro’s government has accelerated the path of destruction of the Amazon region.”

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