Amazon Region Sees Dramatic Rise in Deforestation

Deforestation is often a precursor to fires in the Amazon 

HAVANA TIMES – More than 9,000 square kilometers of rainforest in the Brazilian Amazon region have been cleared over the past twelve months, according to preliminary figures presented by the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) on Friday.

This constitutes an increase of about 35 per cent compared to the same period last year. Between August 2018 and July 2019, 6,844 square kilometers of rainforest were destroyed, according to Inpe.

The institute evaluates satellite images to examine changes in the forest in real time.

“Deforestation in Brazil is clearly out of control,” Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of Brazilian NGO Observatorio do Clima was quoted as saying by news portal G1.

He estimates that deforestation could extend to 13,000 square kilometers after further evaluation of the period from August 2019 to July 2020.

Brazil’s right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro, who took office in 2019, has been criticized because of the devastating fires in the Amazon region. Environmentalists accuse him of not trying to stop the fires in order to develop new areas for agriculture.

“The rising numbers go hand in hand with the policies of President Jair Bolsonaro,” wrote EU lawmaker and Brazil expert Anna Cavazzini.

She called for a policy framework to stop deforestation, such as a supply chain law and a halt to the free trade agreement between the South American economic alliance Mercosur and the EU.