Environment

What is driving Brazil’s Amazon deforestation rates up?

What is driving Brazil Amazon deforestation rates up?
Destroyed forest area by slash-and-burn. Photo: Guentermanaus/Shutterstock

Published on Monday, Brazil’s official annual Amazon deforestation numbers show evidence of a long-anticipated tragedy. Between August 2018 and July 2019, the rainforest lost a total of 9,762 square kilometers of forest coverage—the equivalent of the entire surface of Cyprus.

This is the highest annual deforestation rate since 2007–2008, during Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s presidency—when the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) registered 12,911 square kilometers of deforested land. It also represents a 29.5-percent increase from the previous 12 months. Only at two other points since records began has the year-to-year increase in deforestation been so high.

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