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Amazon Deforestation Rises Again

Workers cutting a felled tree in Acre, Brazil. Photo:Getty


Amazon Deforestation Rises Again


By Patryk Krych | The World Daily | NOVEMBER 15th 2020


On Friday, governmental data revealed that for the first time in four months, the deforestation rates in the Amazon rainforest had risen as a direct cause of the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s government.

The increase came for the first time in over four months, having seen a rise over the October month. This sort of level of deforestation has been a frequent occurrence under the administration of the Bolsonaro government, who upon election in 2019, had implemented several environmentally-degrading changes to the country’s laws and ended in the firing of many environmentalists, all for the sake of the Brazilian economic and industrial development.

Deforestation and fires have been a serious issue to the Amazon rainforest for many, many years. The fires that occur in the forest are never natural, often started by fires to clear away harvested crops and land, typically for the sake of cattle and ranching. Such events have seen an overall increase, since Bolsonaro’s government had been implemented. The most recent October rise was unprecedented, however.

From the previous year, the deforestation rate in October had risen to 836 square kilometres (323 square miles) which is an increase of 50%. This is according to government data collected by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

This had ended the hopeful streak of deforestation decline that had been occurring the previous months before October. This news had also been given only a few days after President Bolsonaro appeared to be threatening the use of military force against the United States, under the exact circumstance that it would attempt to impose sanctions on Brazil for its frequent misgivings against Amazon deforestation and environmentally degrading actions.

“We saw recently there a great candidate to head of state say that if I don’t put out the fire in the Amazon, he will put up commercial barriers against Brazil,” Bolsonaro stated in reference to President-elect Joe Biden. “And how can we deal with all that? Just diplomacy is not enough … When saliva runs out, one has to have gunpowder, otherwise it doesn’t work.”

Such controversial and widely contentious statements are not uncommon from the Brazilian president, given his history with them. He was also known for having stated that indigenous people and the US actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio were the ones at fault for the Amazon deforestation.

Bolsonaro’s administration is known for having encouraged logging and mining both in and out of the Amazon rainforest, and have -most contentiously- granted amnesty to several illegal loggers on multiple occasions. There is absolutely no room for debate that since Bolsonaro had taken office, the country’s deforestation rates saw a steep incline – a figure supported by data.

The figures for October are merely preliminary figures. The official report for Brazil’s deforestation rates that is expected to come out by the end of 2020 is likely to shine some light on the exact circumstances, as these official figures are typically much higher than the preliminary ones.

Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM) researchers have made projections for what this official data may look like. Thus far, their prediction is of a 14,000 square kilometres (5,405 square miles) area having become deforested in the year 2020, comparing to the 10,129 square kilometres (3,911 square miles) that had been analysed in 2019. This is, in essence, the highest projected deforestation rate since the year 2006.

Other data, collected by INPE, suggests that the Amazon forest fires had seen a 20% rise in likelihood since January 1 to November 12 of 2020. This may be, by far, among the all-time worst years for the Amazon rainforest that there ever was.

US president-elect Biden may be able to put more input towards the issue, having stated in one of his September debates that he believes $20 billion at least should be put towards helping preserve the Amazon rainforest, due to its vital importance as the ‘lungs of the planet.’ What will be done about the issue remains to be seen.


By Patryk Krych | © The World Daily 2020