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Brazil: Unprecedented Rapid Deforestation

Brazil: Unprecedented Rapid Deforestation

INPE warns: In April, up to 1012.5 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest were cut down. This is a new record for this month. According to Brazilian environmental organizations, it is the product of one man – President Jair Bolsonaro. The politician sees agriculture and industry as the only way to reduce poverty in the region.

The deforestation of the Amazon is progressing at an accelerated pace. According to the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research, from April 1 to April 29, 2022, up to 1012.5 square kilometers of rainforests were cut down in Brazil. In April of last year, previously considered a record year, the rate of deforestation was half that. Furthermore, the agency estimates that during the first quarter of the year, there was total deforestation of 1,954 square kilometers in the Amazon – an area four times larger than the area of ​​Warsaw. Compared to the same period in 2021, deforestation increased by up to 69 percent.

Amazon is at a turning pointstock struggle

“This record has one architect – Jair Bolsonaro”

As indicated by Brazilian environmental organizations, the acceleration of the rainforest deforestation is directly related to the political situation in Brazil. Marcio Astrini of Observatório do Clima stated unequivocally: “It is the result of a continuous, planned and intense attack on nature conservation policy by the Jair Bolsonaro regime.” The activist accuses the government of deliberately withholding information about the state of the environment and of failing to act decisively to stop illegal logging.

The government responded very quickly to Asterini’s words. In a joint statement issued by the Ministry of the Environment and the Ministry of Justice, we read that the state is investing in ways to combat environmental crime, and that the police and environmental agencies are planning a joint operation to combat illegal deforestation in the provinces of Brazil. In the tropical forest. Astrini calls these assertions “propaganda invented by the government and industry lobbyists”.

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Amazon rainforest is burningReuters

Biodiversity loss is at stake

Scientists from Observatório do Clima noticed another unusual regularity: for the first time in history, this intense felling of trees was recorded in April. In Brazil, this month falls on the rainy season, which is associated with many difficulties in conducting operations – wet and muddy terrain makes it almost impossible to enter heavy equipment.

Ane Alencar of the Amazon Institute of Natural Research (IPAM) says logging is “ridiculously high” for this time of year, but we can expect it to intensify in the coming months. This is because there will be presidential elections in October – in order to secure the support of citizens, Bolsonaro and his government will not take measures to reduce deforestation. Increasing the agricultural and mining area in the Amazon is also part of the program for the election of the president – according to Bolsonaro, increasing industrial activity in these areas of the country helps in the fight against poverty.

The pace of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is of concern to the scientific community. In a study published in March, researchers from the University of Exeter noted that the ecosystem is approaching a “tipping point” – a point at which it will not be able to renew itself after environmental disasters. In the past twenty years, up to 75 percent of the runway has lost resistance to external factors. If this process continues, the forest may begin to turn into a savannah. Chris Bolton, one of the study’s authors, notes that “once we start losing tropical forests, they may be gone in just a few decades.”

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