Under Bolsonaro, deforestation in the Amazon reaches a new record in September | Environment News

So far in 2022, farmers and ranchers have cleared an area 11 times larger than New York City in the Brazilian Amazon for agribusiness, with little regulation.

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon broke a September record, continuing a trend that accelerated under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

About 1,455 km2 (562 sq mi) of rainforest was cleared in September, according to satellite data from Brazil’s space research agency INPE. This represents a 48% increase from a year ago and breaks the September 2019 record in a data series that began in 2015.

Average deforestation in the vital ecosystem has increased by 75% over the previous decade since Bolsonaro took office in 2019.

The news of accelerating deforestation comes as Brazil prepares for a contentious election on October 30, where Bolsonaro will face leftist former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has vowed to clamp down on deforestation.

“Anyone who cares about the future of the rainforest, the lives of indigenous peoples and the possibility of having a livable planet should vote to remove Bolsonaro,” said Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, a coalition of environmental groups. A declaration.

Lula won the first round last week but failed to clear the 50% threshold needed to avoid a second round. Bolsonaro’s surprisingly strong performance in the first round, where many expected him to lose outright, left environmental groups uneasy.

Many believe that the future of the Amazon, a vital resource in the fight against climate change, will depend on the results of the next elections. About 60% of the Amazon is in Brazil.

Bolsonaro, an ally of Brazil’s powerful agribusiness, has overseen a massive depletion of the rainforest as ranchers and loggers clear and set large swaths of forest on fire. In his first year in office in 2019, 9,178 km2 (3,543 sq mi) were destroyed, the worst year on record.

With three months left in the year, 2022 is currently the second worst, with more than 8,590 km2 (3,316 sq mi) destroyed.

Brazil’s justice ministry said it was carrying out police operations to crack down on illegal deforestation and burning, Reuters news agency reported.

But the fires have increased as agribusiness interests seek to clear space for farmland and pasture. In early September, Brazil set a five-year record for the number of fires in the Amazon, and activists said under Bolsonaro law enforcement had been lackluster.

A July report by the Igarape Institute, a Brazilian think tank, found authorities are doing little to curb deforestation in the Amazon.

The study analyzed 302 environmental crime raids carried out by federal police in the Amazon between 2016 and 2021, and found that only 2% targeted people illegally seizing undesignated public land.

Indigenous peoples and environmental land defenders have also been targets of violence and abuse.

The president defended his policy as “balancing environmental protection with just and sustainable economic growth.”

About Sandy Fletcher

Check Also

Live Updates: Forbes Floods Rise Faster Than Expected, Lavrov Hospital ‘Control’, John Aniston Death

This is The loopyour quick catch-up for this morning’s news as it happens. Key events …