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Brazil: Deforestation of the Amazon has decreased but destruction is still rampant | Environmental News


The environmentalist says outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro has given his successor, Lula da Silva, ‘an Amazon in flames’.

New government data shows deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell in the 12 months to July, as incoming President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva seeks to restore protection for important tropical forests.

National space agency (INPE) data released Wednesday shows that 11,568 square kilometers (4,466 square miles) of forest was destroyed in the Brazilian Amazon between August 2021 and July 2022 – a larger than Qatar.

That is an 11% decrease from the same period last year, when deforestation occurred 15 years high under Brazilian far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.

“There is a lower number than a higher number, but it is still a very high number – the second highest of 13,” said Marcio Astrini, head of the Climate Observatory, an environmental advocacy group. past year.

Wednesday’s data wraps up four years that environmentalists call disaster management of Amazon under Bolsonaro, who was accused of undermining indigenous and environmental protection agencies in favor of agribusiness and mining interests.

Under the former army captain, average annual deforestation has increased by 59.5% from four years ago and 75.5% over the previous decade, according to INPE data.

“The Bolsonaro government is a deforestation machine… The only good news is that it is coming to an end,” Astrini said in a statement. “The devastation remains out of control. Jair Bolsonaro will leave his successor a filthy legacy of increased deforestation and an Amazon in flames.”

Lula, a leftist leader who win the tight election last month, promised to work towards zero deforestation when he took office on January 1.

“Brazil is ready to continue its leading role in the fight against the climate crisis,” he said shortly after being declared the winner of the October 30 presidential election.

Lula, who previously served as president of Brazil from 2003 to 2010, also attend the COP27 climate summit in Egypt earlier this month, where he told hundreds of attendees that “Brazil is back in the world.”

Brazilian senator-elect Flavio Dino, who is acting as director of public security on Lula’s transition team, told Reuters news agency on Wednesday that the incoming administration would set up a federal police unit The new state focuses on environmental crime.

Dino said the proposed unit will have an overview of Crime in the Amazonwhere deforestation, illegal mining, drug trafficking, money laundering and gang violence are often linked.

“There is now a particular complication of environmental crime, including, a type of crime syndication in the Amazon. We don’t have isolated environmental criminals anymore,” he told the news agency.

“You have this sophistication and it’s transnational, because it involves other countries in the Amazon. So the idea is to be a specialized unit for greater efficiency and better alignment with neighboring countries.”

Under Bolsonaro, indigenous leaders sounded the alarm about threats their communities face in the Brazilian Amazon, especially in areas with little government oversight that farmers, miners and poachers are seeking to control and exploit.

The Indigenous Missionary Council recorded 305 cases of “invasion, illegal mining resources and property damage” on indigenous territories last year affected 226 indigenous lands in 22 states of Brazil.

This is up from 109 such incidents in 2018, a year before Bolsonaro took office – an increase of 180%.

Carbon Brief, a UK-based climate website, said in a report in September that a win in the Lula election could help reduce deforestation by 89% in the Brazilian Amazon over the decade. next century and will prevent the destruction of 75,960 square kilometers (29,328 square miles) of rainforest by 2030.

However, Lula can face hard-line political opposition in areas where deforestation is taking place in the Amazon, and he also faces the difficulty of controlling such large, often remote areas.

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