Data from the INPE satellites shows that 3,750 square kilometers (1,448 sq mi) of the world’s largest rainforest was lost in Brazil between January 1 and June 24, the largest area since 2016, when the institute reported this type of rainforest. Surveillance started.
The INPE satellites have been recording new monthly deforestation records since the beginning of the year, and it also recorded a record 2,562 fires in the country’s Amazon last month.
May and June mark the start of significant annual burning and deforestation in the Amazon due to the generally dry season.
In May, INPE detected 2,287 rainforest fires, the highest number that month since 2004.
The destruction of the world’s largest rainforest has increased and environmental protections weakened since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019, arguing they hinder economic growth that could reduce poverty in the Amazon region. Is.
Although the president has passed several executive orders and legislation to protect the rainforest, he has also reduced funding for government-run environmental protection and monitoring programs, and to open indigenous lands to commercial farming and mining. inspired to.
In October 2021, a group of climate lawyers urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate Bolsonaro for his alleged attacks on the Amazon, which they called a “crime against humanity”.
But Brazil’s president has pushed back against international critics pushing for better protection of the rainforest.
In early May, Bolsonaro lashed out at Leonardo DiCaprio, saying it would be better for the actor to “keep his mouth shut” after speaking about the environmental importance of the Amazon.
Some scientists predict that deforestation will continue to increase ahead of the presidential election in Brazil in October, as has happened before the last three elections.
According to Carlos Souza Jr., a researcher at Amazon, a Brazilian research institute, environmental enforcement generally weakens in election years and criminals may run to deforestation before the new government takes office.