Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rises to a 12-year high

During this time, 11,088 square kilometers (6,890 square miles) were destroyed – 9.5% higher than the previous year and the highest level of destruction since 2008 – INPE announced at a press conference that its annual figures would be released on Monday.

Deforestation has skyrocketed since far-right President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January 2019. Bolsonaro encouraged the development of the Amazon and abolished the agencies responsible for preventing illegal logging, farming and mining in the rainforests.

In the Amazon, fires are often lit to clear vegetation from already cut-down parts of the forest – all in preparation for illegal grazing and cattle rearing.

Environmentalists have criticized Bolsonaro’s outspoken support for logging and development in the Amazon, which provides an incentive for illegal deforestation operations.

In August, Bolsonaro called the official data and news about the Amazon fires a “lie.”

The president was under pressure to take steps to preserve the Amazon. In 2019, a group of 34 international investors threatened to separate from Brazilian companies unless they took steps to curb the devastation and put out the fires raging in the region.

His government took a few steps to do so, periodically banned fires, and assigned military personnel to control the flames.

But the new data is damaging. The environmental NGO Greenpeace has documented the devastation by publishing photographs of the overpass in the southern Amazon and Rondonia on 16 August, including protected areas that cannot be legally exploited for commercial purposes, showing flames and smoke.
Deforestation is accelerating despite the coronavirus

In a September presidential debate, Joe Biden said “Brazil’s rainforests will be torn apart,” adding that he “will make sure that countries around the world produce $ 20 billion,” here’s $ 20 billion, stop the forest, and if no, it will have significant economic consequences. “

After Bolsonaro’s remark, he deceived Biden, saying “it is difficult to understand such a catastrophic and unnecessary statement.”

Amazon is the world’s largest rainforest and an indispensable resource in the fight against global warming. If the rainforest is healthy, its trees and plants extract billions of tons of heat-binding carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year, making it one of the best defenders on the planet against climate change.

It’s not the only burning biodiversity hotspot this year. The Pantanal region of South America has been hit by the worst fires in decades. The flames consumed about 28% of the vast floodplain that stretches in parts of Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay.

Wetlands like the Pantanal are the most efficient carbon sinks on Earth – ecosystems that absorb and store more carbon than they release and keep it away from the atmosphere. At roughly 200,000 square kilometers, Pantanal accounts for about 3% of the globe’s wetlands and plays a key role in carbon traffic.

CNN’s Ivana Kottasová, Rodrigo Pedroso, Marcia Reverdosa and Emma Reynolds contributed to the report.