Deforestation in Brazil continues to be on the rise, despite President Jair Bolsonaro’s promise earlier this year that the government would increase enforcement efforts to combat environmental crimes.
According to the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research’s (INPE) new figures, Brazil’s deforestation rates increased by 67 per cent in May last year compared to May 2020. It is the third consecutive month in which deforestation rates have increased.
Brazil is cutting 24 trees per second at the current rate.
“This is worrying because May is the start of the dry season when devastation intensifies in a large part of the Amazon region,” said representatives from the Climate Observatory nonprofit group in a statement.
Amazonia is already seeing large fires, with the first major one striking on May 19, according to Mongabay.All fires reported so far have been on deforested land. This highlights the direct relationship between initial deforestation, and further destruction caused by fires.
Bolsonaro has pledged to eliminate deforestation within the next decade, but his policies speak a different tale. Since his election in 2019, Bolsonaro has reduced environmental spending and opened the Amazon up to commercial bidders.
A recent report Nearly all of Brazil’s deforestation is illegal, according to the conclusion. However, government enforcement remains virtually non-existent and illicit loggers face no punishments for their role in decimating Brazil’s rainforests.
“Unfortunately, deforestation is increasing in all ecosystems and the degree of illegality remains very high,” said Tasso Azevedo, the co-ordinator of Brazil’s MapBiomas Alerta, a tool that monitors deforestation in the country.
A combined area equal to New York City was destroyed in the first five month of this year. Last year, Brazil was the world’s worst offender of forest-area erosion. 2 million hectares were lost in the Amazon.
Since 2014, Michael has been covering Latin America as a reporter. He has lived in Costa Rica, Colombia, and Mexico. His work in the region has been published in Vice, The Associated Press, and The Guardian.