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

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Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell by 21% in August compared to the same month last year, but the area deforested since January remains almost at the level of 2019, the year of all records.

• Read also: Brazil: slight drop in fires in the Amazon in August

• Read also: Brazil: the Pantanal, green paradise in the hell of the flames

According to official data released on Friday, deforestation reached 1,358 km2 last month, up from 1,714 km2 in August 2019.

During the first eight months of the year, the satellites of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) identified 6,086 km2 deforested in the largest tropical forest on the planet, a decrease of 5% compared to the same period of Last year. Data available on Friday shows a total of 6,301 km2 through September 4.

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

A figure already clearly above the 4,951 km2 recorded for the whole of 2018, but also the three previous years (3,551 km2 in 2017, 6,032 km2 in 2016 and 2,195 km2 in 2015).

Deforestation reached an exceptional level in 2019 (9,178 km2), the first year of the mandate of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, much criticized for his environmental policy.

Since these data were compiled in 2015, “the areas deforested in one month have exceeded 1000 km2 only seven times, including six under the Bolsonaro government”, lamented the NGO collective Climate Observatory, in a press release.

“The devastation has reached a whole new level. Before Bolsonaro, the monthly averages for the months of May to September, at the heart of the dry season, were 600 km2. In recent years, they have doubled, “added Marcio Astrini, administrative secretary of this collective, which considers the figures for August” unacceptable “.

Like last year, fires continue to rage in the Amazon, with 13,810 outbreaks already identified by the INPE from September 1 to 10, more than two-thirds of the total recorded for the entire month of September 2019.

Since January, 57,823 outbreaks have been identified, 6% more than in the same period last year.

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

This situation is all the more worrying given that smoke causes respiratory illnesses, in the second country in the world to have recorded the most deaths from COVID-19 (nearly 130,000 deaths).

Further south, the Pantanal, the planet’s largest tropical wetland and biodiversity sanctuary, recorded a 220% increase in fires from January to August. And if we take into account data up to September 10, the total (12,703) is already above the all-time high for an entire year, dating from 2005.

Many personalities, such as American actor Leonardo DiCaprio, shared on Twitter the video of a campaign called “”, launched last week by several NGOs, calling for any investment in Brazil to be made dependent on firm commitments to the preservation of the Amazon.

This campaign has the slogan: “Bolsonaro sets the Amazon on fire. Again. Which side are you on? “

On Thursday, Brazil’s Minister of the Environment, Ricardo Salles, invited the Hollywood star to “walk the talk” by taking part in the “Adopt a Park” program which consists of contributing to the preservation of natural parks in the Amazon, by “sponsoring” a hectare for 10 euros.

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