Brazil: more than 7,000 km2 deforested in the Amazon in nine months

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Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon reached more than 7,000 km2 from January to September, an alarming figure despite a 10% drop compared to the same period in 2019, the year of all records.

• Read also: Brazil: the Amazon and the Pantanal in flames, Bolsonaro under pressure

• Read also: Brazil: very high deforestation in the Amazon, but less than in 2019

Official data released Friday by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) show 964 km2 deforested in September alone, a drop of 34% compared to the same month last year.

With 7,063 km2 of tropical forests less, the level of deforestation for the first nine months of the year remains below the level of 2019 (7,869 km2), the first year of the term of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, climate skeptic notorious.

But this total is significantly higher than that of the 12 months of the previous four years (4,951 km2 in 2018, 3,551 km2 in 2017, 6,032 km2 in 2016 and 2,195 km2 in 2015).

“The figures for deforestation remain very high and unacceptable. In September, an area equivalent to two football fields was cleared every minute ”, reacted in a press release Marcio Astrini, the administrative secretary of the NGO collective Climate Observatory.

And even though deforestation has declined compared to 2019, the number of fires increased by 61% in September compared to the same month last year, with 32,017 outbreaks identified by INPE satellites.

Over the first nine months of the year, the total amounted to 76,030 households, compared to 66,749 from January to September 2019, an increase of 14%.

Further south, in the Pantanal, the fires have broken all records: with 8106 outbreaks, September 2020 is by far the worst month since these statistics began to be established by the INPE in 1998.

The record for a whole year, which dated from 2005 (12,536 outbreaks) has already been shattered in nine months, with 18,259 outbreaks since January.

Thursday, the office of the Advocate General of the union (AGU), which defends the government, had to provide explanations to the Supreme Court about this upsurge in forest fires.

According to the AGU, the government has not failed in its task and the fires are mainly due to the “historic drought” which affects the Pantanal and the Amazon.

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