March 8, 2021

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon grew more than 88% in June

The area illegally deforested in the Brazilian Amazon grew 88.4% in June compared to the same month of the previous year, according to the latest estimates of the National Institute of Space Research (Inpe) updated this Wednesday.

According to the Institute's projection, which captures monthly data through a warning system of alterations in the forest cover of the Amazon, illegal deforestation extended in June by 920 square kilometers, compared to the 488.4 square kilometers registered in the same month of the previous year.

However, the consolidated data will only be disclosed by the entity as of October.

It is the first time that deforestation has grown for two consecutive months since the arrival of the ultra-right wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been in power since January 1 and who has been favorable to the easing of environmental regulations in the country.

However, in previous months, such as April or March 2019, the detection of deforested areas was reduced by 49.4% and 29.5%, respectively.

Experts consulted by Efe explained that, because it is a "quick" report that acts as an "emergency telephone" in the Amazon, the data may be altered by meteorological factors or even by technological precision.

"It is a system that detects deforestation alerts every month and serves as an emergency telephone for environmental crime, as the Government notifies the areas where illegal deforestation is suspected," Greenpeace's public policy coordinator told Efe. Marcio Astrini.

Although these are still unconsolidated numbers, Astrini stressed that, "in any case, it is a very serious situation", because it shows that Brazil is "in the opposite direction" of maintaining the commitments of environmental conservation that it has assumed.

The coordinator said that the current government's environmental policies "have a direct relationship" with the upward trend of deforestation, since "on several occasions President Bolsonaro and the Ministry of the Environment demonstrated against the people and institutions that fight crime environmental".

"It is a government that encourages deforestation in the discourse and, in practice, creates a series of rules and regulations that diminish the State's ability to combat environmental crime," he said.

He recalled that last year, under the government of Michel Temer, Brazil experienced an increase of 14% in illegal deforestation and reached its highest level for a decade.

"That is why it is so worrisome that the preliminary data for June show a rise compared to last year, simply because last year is a terrible reference," he said.

In the same vein, the director of social and environmental justice of WWF Brazil, Raul Valle, told Efe that Brazil has been "constantly" increasing the area of ​​deforestation since 2012, but the situation worsened especially since last year with the Temer's environmental policies, which "have facilitated the privatization of public lands and have encouraged illegal deforestation" as a means of "claiming property rights".

According to Valle, the "message" of the Bolsonaro government "strengthens" the idea that "there will no longer be the same rigor when it comes to overseeing and punishing environmental crimes."

"In fact, 40% of the alerts for illegal deforestation this year have occurred in protected areas, on indigenous lands and conservation, while in the first five months of this year, the fines applied decreased by 30%," he said. director.

"The illegality in the Amazon has always been great, but now the illegal groups see the declarations and acts of the Government as a sign that they can advance more and will not be retained," said Valle.

Since his election campaign last October, Bolsonaro has shown himself to be more flexible in Brazil's environmental policies.

The controversial positions of the Brazilian president have caused controversy in the international community.

While some countries, such as the United States, have praised Bolsonaro, others, such as France or Germany, have rejected the ecological agenda of the far right.

Nayara Batschke

. (tagsToTranslate) deforestation (t) Amazonia (t) Brazilian (t) grew (t) June

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