Deforestation in the Amazon reaches record levels Brazilofficial data show.
Authorities say 1,539 square miles (3,988 square kilometers) have been cleared in the Brazilian part of the Amazon between January and June this year.
This area is five times larger New Yorkthe highest deforestation rate recorded in the first six months of the year in the Brazilian Amazon, according to Greenpeace.
Deforestation is the process of permanently removing trees, often to make room for planting crops and grazing livestock to meet human needs for food.
During deforestation, trees and vegetation are burned or cut down, destroying forest habitat and causing biodiversity loss, according to conservationists.
Deforestation in the Amazon (pictured) has just hit an all-time high, according to official data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research.
During deforestation, trees and vegetation are burned or cut down, destroying forest habitat and causing loss of biodiversity.
From January to June this year, 1,539 square miles (3,988 square kilometers) were cleared in the Brazilian Amazon, more than ever before.
WHAT IS DEGREETING?
Deforestation – the permanent removal of trees – is a major environmental problem causing destruction of forest habitat and loss of biodiversity.
A big driver of deforestation is the deliberate burning of the rainforest canopy to make way for crops and cattle.
Unfortunately, carbon stored in trees can be released into the atmosphere in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Called the lungs of the planet, forests act as huge carbon sinks that absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere as they grow.
The new data was published by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais, or INPE).
Commenting on the data in a statement, Greenpeace said the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest and often referred to as the “lungs of the planet”, could soon be “on the verge of extinction”.
“Destroying the Amazon during a raging climate crisis is like hitting an air conditioner with a hammer in a room that is already getting hotter,” said Louise Casson, head of forestry at Greenpeace UK.
“With every hectare of forest cleared, we are bringing this climate-critical ecosystem closer to the brink of extinction, and we are also threatening the rights of indigenous peoples.”
Forests are vital in fighting the climate crisis because they are carbon sinks – they are able to capture and store large amounts of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Trees help stop climate change by removing the greenhouse gas CO2 from the air, using it for photosynthesis and releasing oxygen into the atmosphere.
The Amazon stretches over 2.1 million square miles across eight countries – Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname – but the bulk, about 60 percent, is within Brazil’s borders.
An official from the state of Pará, northern Brazil, surveys a deforested area in the Amazon rainforest during an observation in the municipality of Pacaja, 385 miles from the capital city of Belém, September 22, 2021.
An aerial view showing a deforested patch of land in the Amazon rainforest next to a fire-damaged area about 65 km from Porto Velho, in Rondonia state, northern Brazil, August 23, 2019.
The new data follows domestic and international concern over calls by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to clear land in the country’s part of the Amazon to spur economic development.
According to Greenpeace, on average, over the last three years of Bolsonaro’s administration (2019-2021), deforestation increased by 52.9% compared to the previous three years (2016-2018).
The charity says Bolsonaro has put forward “drastic legislative proposals” that would reward land grabs, undermine indigenous territories and remove environmental licensing requirements – all of which encourage deforestation.
“Governments and corporations must stop fueling the fire and putting pressure on the Bolsonaro government to stop it,” Casson said.
AT Blog Post Earlier this year, Greenpeace called Bolsonaro an “environmental disaster” that has an “anti-environmental agenda”.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (pictured) has come under fire for clearing land in the Amazon Valley to spur economic development.
An aerial view shows deforestation near a forest on the border between the Amazon and the Cerrado in Nova Chavantina, Mato Grosso state, Brazil on July 28, 2021.
Smoke rises from an illegal fire that is destroying the Amazon rainforest in Porto Velho, Rondonia state, Brazil, in this photo taken September 15, 2021.
“The Bolsonaro administration is weakening government agencies responsible for monitoring the environment and enforcing laws to protect the forest,” the report says.
“Brazil is well positioned to become a world leader in environmental protection, with a sustainable economy that benefits more than just a select few.
“But because of this, we cannot let Bolsonaro continue to run the country.”
Bolsonaro’s term is coming to an end in 2022, although he will run for re-election.
Commercial farming and forestry plantations, and their export to countries such as the UK, lead to deforestation.
Recognizing this, the UK government announced in December that it would make changes to the supply chains of products such as cocoa, beef, soybeans, coffee, corn and palm oil.
However, Greenpeace stated that the measures would not end “UK complicity in deforestation, which Bolsonaro considers legitimate”.
“The deforestation law proposed by the UK government is unlikely to change anything on this issue,” Casson said.
“We need a zero-tolerance approach to taking down Amazon, or we’ll all pay the price.”
Britain’s obsession with timber, leather and beef ‘has a profound effect’ on the Amazon rainforest.
The UK is obsessed with timber, leather and beef from Brazilaccording to wildlife charities who claim it “has a profound effect” on rainforest wildfires.
Home to two-thirds of the Amazon rainforest, Brazil is one of the riskiest countries from which the UK imports major agricultural commodities, according to WWF and RSPB.
A 2020 WWF report says the fires are set on purpose to make room for agriculture to meet growing demand in places like the UK.
The latest data suggests that 2,248 fire outbreaks were detected in the Amazon biome in June, the highest number in 13 years.
Brazil accounts for 13.9% of the UK’s land overseas, about 800,000 hectares or five times the size of Greater London, according to a new report.