Brazilian Amazon deforestation falls, but up 60% under Bolsonaro

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon destroyed an area larger than Qatar in the 12 months to July, according to official figures released Wednesday, showing a decline year-over-year – but an increase overall. strong under outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro.

In the latest grim news about the world’s largest rainforest, satellite monitoring shows that 11,568 square kilometers (4,466 square miles) of forest has been destroyed in the past year. Amazon Brazil from August 2021 to July 2022, according to the annual deforestation monitoring program of the national space agency INPE, PRODES.

This is down 11.3% from the previous year, when INPE discovered 13,038 square kilometers of forest had been cleared – the highest level in 15 years.

But it ended four years of what environmentalists have called disastrous mismanagement of the Amazon under the far-right Bolsonaro, whose successor, left-wing veteran Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, has vowed to make an effort. efforts toward zero deforestation when he took office on January 1.

Under the agribusiness ally Bolsonaro, average annual deforestation has increased by 59.5% from four years ago and 75.5% over the previous decade, according to INPE data.

Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, a coalition of environmental groups, said: “The Bolsonaro government is a forest destruction machine… The only good news is that it is coming to an end.

“Jair Bolsonaro will leave his successor a dirty legacy of increased deforestation and the Amazon on fire,” he said in a statement, urging Lula, who previously led Brazil since 2003 to 2010 – demonstrating a “zero tolerance” for environmental crimes.

Bolsonaro’s office and the environment ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Much of the clearing and burning of the Amazon is to create new farmland – especially for cattle ranches in Brazil, the world’s top beef exporter, experts say.

Mariana Napolitano, chief scientific officer at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Brazil office, warned that deforestation figures show the Amazon is being pushed to a “tipping point”.

“Significantly reducing deforestation … is urgently needed for humanity in the face of the dual climate and nature crisis facing the world,” she said in a statement.

All eyes are on Lula

Environmentalists said the figures were ready from November 3 and accused the government of delaying their release to avoid causing embarrassment at the United Nations COP27 climate conference in Egypt.

Bolsonaro, who has faced an international outcry against Amazon, did not attend the conference.

Lula did, defeating Bolsonaro in a second round election.

The 77-year-old president-elect has received a rock-star welcome from climate campaigners in the hope that Brazil will now do a better job of protecting 60 percent of the Amazon forest, where thousands of billion carbon sequestering trees are the main buffer against global warming.

“Brazil is back,” Lula told the conference, vowing to fight to end illegal deforestation and revive the internationally-backed $1.3 billion Amazon Fund to protect the rainforest. – suspended under Bolsonaro.

Annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell 75% during Lula’s first term in office, an achievement many experts say respected former environment minister Marina Silva – is now tipped to return to. Work.

But Lula has also faced criticism during her previous two terms from environmentalists – including Silva – over a number of policies, such as the controversial decision to promote the Belo hydroelectric dam. Giant Monte in the Amazon.

The latest figures come on the same day as a new study shows that 90% of deforested land in Brazil has been converted to grassland.

According to research from the MapBiomas satellite tracking institute, the Amazon is the region with the most grasslands.

It shows the number of grasslands in the Amazon has increased by 40% over the past two decades, as Brazil emerges as a leading beef power in the world.

This story was published from the wire dealer’s feed without text modification.

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