Monday, February 6, 2023

Deforestation in Amazonia remains near 15-year high

RIO DE JANEIRO ( Associated Press) – Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell slightly a year after reaching its highest level in 15 years last year, according to data released Wednesday by the National Institute for Space Research.

The agency’s PRODS tracking system shows that in the 12 months from August 2021 to July 2022, rainforest has lost an area roughly the size of Qatar, 11,600 square kilometers (4,500 sq mi).

This is an 11% decrease from the previous year, when more than 13,000 square kilometers (5,000 sq mi) were destroyed.

For more than a decade it seemed that things were looking up for Brazil’s Amazon. Deforestation was drastically reduced and it never again exceeded 10,000 square kilometres. That was before the presidency of far-right Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in January 2019.

This will be the last report published during Bolsonaro’s tenure, as he lost his attempt to run for re-election and will leave office on January 1. But some of the devastation wrought during his tenure won’t be visible until next year, which includes the key months of August to October 2022. Those months’ preview comes from a different federal satellite system that emits faster but less accurate data. : Shows that deforestation increased by 45% in the period from August to October last year. Traditionally, that time of year is the most destructive due to dry weather.

An analysis of new annual data from the Climate Observatory, a network of environmental groups, shows that in the four years of Bolsonaro’s leadership, deforestation has increased by 60% over the past four years. This is the largest percentage increase under a presidency since satellite tracking began in 1998.

In one state, Para, the rate of destruction has dropped by 21%, but it remains the center of a third of all Amazon forest loss in Brazil. Some felling and burning of trees takes place in clearly protected areas. One of them is the state forest of Parú, where the non-profit Amazon Institute for People and Environment recorded 2 square kilometers (0.7 sq mi) of deforestation in October alone.

Nation World News Desk
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