The deforestation in the Amazon is more and more alarming. Despite the many efforts made to protect the forest, the lack of cooperation from some governments and other institutions is straining the lungs of the planet. In Brazil, it was found that deforestation has never reached such a high level in 12 years.
An increase in deforestation linked to the policy of the Bolsonaro government
According to official government data, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has peaked for 12 years. A total of 11,088 square kilometers of rainforest were destroyed in the country between August 2019 and July 2020. By comparison, the size of forest destroyed is equivalent to the area of Jamaica or seven times that of London. A 9.5% increase in deforestation was thus observed compared to the previous year. The previous record in this area dates back to 2008 when 12,911 square kilometers of forest were destroyed.
These data were obtained through the Brazilian space agency’s PRODES monitoring program, which analyzed satellite images to track deforestation. This finding means that Brazil did not meet its own goal of reducing deforestation to around 3,900 square kilometers per year until the end of 2020. Since this goal was enshrined in law in 2009 , it is possible that failure to comply with it may expose the government to prosecution, noted Reuters.
Faced with this problem, environmentalists were quick to point the finger at the policies of the current president, Jair Bolsonaro. Since Bolsonaro came to power, his government has indeed strived to roll back the protection of forests and reduce the application of environmental laws in order to promote agricultural and mining activities. ” President Bolsonaro’s policy harms the environment, the climate, the indigenous populations, but also the reputation of Brazil in the world “, Condemned Cristiane Mazzetti, an official of Greenpeace Brazil, in a statement.
Deforestation that will have dramatic consequences on the climate
As for the impact of this deforestation on the environment, scientists fear the worst. ” Due to such deforestation, Brazil is probably the only major emitter of greenhouse gases that has managed to increase its emissions during a year in which the world economy was paralyzed by the pandemic. “, has explained Observatório do Clima, a Brazilian NGO, in a statement. The NGO also explained that these figures come as no surprise given Bolsonaro’s environmental management and monthly deforestation data in Brazil. The numbers were significantly higher than in 2019.
If deforestation continues, it’s possible that the Amazon rainforest ecosystem – which accounts for more than three-fifths of the forest cover – will change to become drier. Such an event will have disastrous consequences on the climate of the South American continent, and probably on that of the whole world, explained Mongabay. Indeed, the Amazon rainforest plays a crucial role in controlling climate change. As forest destruction increases, the situation will be reversed in that burnt or killed trees will no longer absorb carbon, but produce it.