thursday, 4 july of 2019

Amazon Rainforest

Brazil deforestation exceeds 88% in June under Bolsonaro

Deforestation in Brazil’s portion of the Amazon rainforest soared morethan 88% in June compared with the same month a year ago, the secondconsecutive month of rising forest destruction under new President JairBolsonaro, who has called for development of the region.

According to data from Brazil’s space research agency, deforestation inthe world’s largest tropical rainforest totaled 920 square km (355 squaremiles).

The data showing an 88.4% deforestation increase is preliminary butindicates the official annual figure, based on more detailed imaging andmeasured for the 12 months to the end of July, is well on track to surpass lastyear’s figure.

In the first 11 months, deforestation already has reached 4,565 squarekm (1,762 square miles), a 15 percent increase over the same period in theprevious year. That is an area larger than the U.S. state of Rhode Island.

Environmentalists have warned that Bolsonaro’s strong remarks callingfor the development of the Amazon and criticizing the country’s environmentalenforcement agency Ibama for handing out too many fines would embolden loggersand ranchers seeking to profit from deforestation.

“Bolsonaro has aggravated the situation. ... He has made a strongrhetorical attack,” said Paulo Barreto, a researcher at Brazilian nongovernmentorganization Imazon.

The new data coincides with more pressure on the government to protectthe environment under the terms of the free trade deal between the EuropeanUnion and South American bloc Mercosur agreed to last week. Brazil will takeaction if concerns about an increase in deforestation are confirmed, theagriculture minister said on Wednesday.

The rainy season through April appeared to have held off a spike indeforestation that subsequently came with the dry season starting in May.

Deforestation rose 34% in May compared with the same month a year ago.

Bolsonaro’s office declined to comment, saying questions would beaddressed by the Environment Ministry.

“We are adopting all measures to combat illegal deforestation,”Environment Minister Ricardo Salles told Reuters. “This week we had 17enforcement teams simultaneously in all of the Amazon from Ibama.”

Brazil is home to 60% of the Amazon, which is the world’s largesttropical rainforest and is seen as vital to the global fight against climatechange.

Grains trader Cargill, the largest privately held U.S. company, saidlast month that the food industry would not be able to meet a pledge toeliminate deforestation in their supply chains globally by 2020 and committedto do more to protect native environments in Brazil.

While the final text of the EU-Mercosur deal has not been released, anoutline from the EU states the agreement includes a provision that the ParisAgreement on climate change must be effectively implemented along with othercommitments to fight deforestation.

French President Emmanuel Macron had warned last week that he would notsign off on the deal if Brazil leaves the Paris accord. Bolsonaro met Macron atlast week’s G20 summit and reassured him Brazil was in the Paris Agreement tostay.

Greenpeace forest strategist Paulo Adario said “all indications” arethat deforestation will worsen under Bolsonaro, but he hopes news of a largeincrease will put pressure on the government to take action.

“When they have the final numbers, if it is really a lot, this will be anightmare for Bolsonaro,” Adario said. “This is something that is reallyimportant from an international and Brazilian point of view because the Amazonis an icon.”

(Published by,Reuters, July 2019)


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