Brazil: Record of deforestation in the Amazon for one month of February

Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil broke a new record in February, according to satellite data released on Friday.

Images from Brazil’s space agency INPE’s Deter Monitoring Program show that 199 square kilometers of forest cover has disappeared.

This is the highest figure for the month of February since the launch of the program in August 2015, and an increase of 62% over February last year.

This figure is even more worrying because February is the month of the rainy season in the Amazon, a generally slow period for deforestation.

“The first two months of this year both set a record deforestation, which so far has covered 629 square kilometres, which is three times more than last year,” said Greenpeace’s Romulo Batista.

Fears are high that 2022 will break the record of 13,235 square kilometers of tragic deforestation recorded between August 2020 and July 2021, according to Prods, another INPE monitoring programme, whose records began in 1988.

“This absurd increase reflects a lack of policies from the current administration in the Amazon to address deforestation and environmental crimes. The destruction just doesn’t stop,” Batista said in a statement.

Jair Bolsonaro, who has been pushing to open up protected lands to agribusiness and mining, has drawn international anger over the increase in deforestation and fires in the Amazon.

Since the far-right president took office in 2019, the average annual deforestation of Brazil’s Amazon, a key resource for curbing climate change, has increased by more than 75% over the past decade.

Thousands of hectares of forests are being destroyed to expand agricultural land in Brazil, the world’s largest exporter of beef and soybeans.

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