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Amazon deforestation rises for 14th straight month in Brazil

. Jul 10, 2020
Amazon deforestation rises for 14th straight month in Brazil Photo: Vinícius Mendonça/Ibama

As Brazil’s Vice President Hamilton Mourão meets with CEOs from investment groups worried about the country’s laissez-faire approach toward the environment, new official figures show that Amazon deforestation continues to run rampant under President Jair Bolsonaro.

Latest figures produced by the National Institute of Space Research (Inpe) show a 10-percent growth in deforestation in June compared to last. Almost 1,000 km2 (250,000 acres) of forest were destroyed in the period.

June also saw the highest deforestation rates for the month since 2015. When compared to 2018 — the last year before Mr. Bolsonaro took office — deforestation has grown 112 percent. The latest tallies only add to an increasingly grim scenario for environmental protection in the country, as June also registered record-breaking figures for fires in the Amazon region.

The rampant deforestation rates come despite increased pressure from international leaders and companies demanding Mr. Bolsonaro take action against widespread illegal land-grabbing and logging in the region. If deforestation continues, Brazil will likely suffer to secure foreign investments and Mr. Bolsonaro could see his lax environment stance get in the way of securing a much-coveted trade deal with the European Union.

Despite the announcement of the environmental protection plan “Brazil Green 2” that promised military surveillance in the Amazon under the supervision of Vice President Hamilton Mourão, deforestation figures in 2020 are still on pace to surpass 2019, which saw 2.47 million acres of forest land wiped out — which was a record for the 2010s.

In May, The Brazilian Report covered how Mr. Bolsonaro’s Environment Minister Ricardo Salles is “running the cattle herd” through the Amazon while most of the media attention is focused on the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Rafael Lima

Rafael is a Communication student at Wake Forest University, and a student fellow of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.

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