Brazil Amazon Deforestation Decreases In Lula’s First Month In Office | Political News

Experts call the January drop a ‘positive’, but note that it’s too early to say whether it marks a long-term reversal.

Deforestation in Brazil amazon rainforest fell 61% in January, the first month in office of leftist President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has promised to restart environmental protection efforts.

Preliminary satellite data collected by government space research agency Inpe and released Friday shows that 167 square kilometers (64 square miles) were cleared in the area last month, down from 430 kilometers square (166 square miles) lost in January 2022.

However, experts warn that while the decline is a good sign, it is too early to say that deforestation surged under Lula .’s predecessorBrazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, has been reversed.

“It’s positive to see such a dramatic drop in January,” said Daniel Silva, WWF-Brazilian conservation expert. “However, it is still too early to talk about a trend reversal, as part of this decline could be related to greater cloud cover.”

WWF-Brasil also points out that deforestation typically peaks in the dry season, which begins in June.

“Action plans for Deforestation prevention and wildfires must be restructured as a matter of urgency for Brazil to rediscover its role as an international environmental leader,” said Frederico Machado, another expert on the group. .

Deforest increased significantly under Bolsonaro, who was defeated by Lula in the October elections and has spurred economic development and greater mining in Brazil’s vast Amazon region.

Indigenous and environmental groups have blamed the Bolsonaro government’s policies on increasing deforestation and illegal activities in the Amazon, including illegal gold mining, as well as increased violence against indigenous communities in the region.

New deforestation data comes as Lula, who previously served as president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010, is scheduled meet my American counterpartPresident Joe Biden, in Washington, DC, late Friday.

The two leaders are expected to discuss advocating for democracy, as well as efforts to combat climate change, among other issues. Lula has commitment to deforestation down to zero in the Amazon rainforest, about two-thirds of which is in Brazil.

Ahead of the talks, Reuters news agency reported that the United States was considering the first contribution to a multilateral fund to combat deforestation of the Amazon, with an announcement likely to be made during the Biden-Lula meeting.

The Brazilian Amazon Fund, supported mainly by Norway and Germany, has been reactivated by Environment Minister Marina Silva on the day she took office last month, after being frozen since 2019 under Bolsonaro.

The charred trunks of a tree in the Amazon jungle in Brazil
Burnt tree trunks are seen on an Amazon land burned by loggers and farmers, in Porto Velho, Brazil, August 23, 2019 [File: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters]

In late January, German Development Minister Svenja Schulze announced that Berlin would provide $38 million to the Amazon Foundation, say the government of Lula offers “an amazing opportunity to protect the forest and bring a new perspective to the people who live there”.

Germany also pledged to provide $87 million in low-interest loans to farmers to restore degraded areas and $34 million to Brazilian states in the Amazon region to protect rainforests.

Still, even with a positive start to the year, experts and staff at Brazil’s environment agency Ibama have warned that Lula could take years to meet conservation goals after Bolsonaro cut sponsors and staff at key institutions.

However, the new Brazilian government has taken some steps to reverse environmental degradation in the Amazon.

Earlier this week, the authorities launch raids to remove illegal gold miners from indigenous territories in the region, where they are blamed for violent attacks and health crises affecting the Yanomami people.


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