Nothing seems to stop the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon. According to an official estimate published Thursday, November 18, it increased by nearly 22% between August 2020 and July 2021, compared to the previous period. This is the record for the last fifteen years.
Logging in the world’s largest tropical forest spanned 13,235 km2 during the period 2020-2021, the highest value since 2005-2006 (14,286 km2), according to data from the Prodes deforestation monitoring system of the National Institute of Space Research (INPE) of Brazil.
This is the third consecutive year that deforestation has increased since the rise to power of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been the subject of international criticism for weakening the surveillance of Amazonian ecosystems and defending extractive activities in the areas. protected.
More soldiers on the ground
These figures represent “A challenge for us and we will have to be firmer in the face of environmental crimes”, acknowledged the Brazilian Minister of the Environment, Joaquim Leite, during a press conference in Brasilia, shortly after the publication of the document.
However, he claimed that these data “Do not exactly reflect the reality of the last few months”. The Brazilian government says it has stepped up its efforts to fight illegal deforestation through an increased military presence in the most affected areas.
“To those who persist in committing these environmental crimes, (we warn) that the Brazilian state will show its full strength in the Amazon”Justice and Public Safety Minister Anderson Torres said.
Data concealment before COP26
“This result is the fruit of a persistent, planned and continuous effort to destroy environmental protection policies” under the Bolsonaro government, said in a statement Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, which brings together the main environmental NGOs and institutes active in Brazil, including WWF and Greenpeace.
The Observatory also accused the government of having concealed the data until after COP26, since the document, published Thursday by the INPE, linked to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, is dated 27 October 2021.
“The government already had the deforestation data in hand at the time of the Scottish Climate Conference and has deliberately omitted it”, said the NGO. To which the Minister of the Environment replied: “The information I have is that it was leaked today. “
The area of Lebanon deforested every year
Upon coming to power in 2019, thanks in part to support from the powerful agribusiness lobby, President Bolsonaro said he wanted to open up protected lands and indigenous reserves to agriculture and mining.
The result is an annual average of deforestation which now exceeds 10,000 km2 – the area of Lebanon – against some 6,500 km2 during the previous decade.
During the COP26 on climate, Brazil pledged to advance two years, from 2030 to 2028, the deadline to eliminate illegal deforestation in its territory, which is home to 60% of the Amazon. “We will certainly be firmer to reverse the figures (of deforestation) and achieve the goal that was announced at the conference”, concluded Mr. Leite during the press conference.