Environment

New June record for Amazon forest deforestation in four consecutive months

Amazon forest deforestation has reached a new record in June for four consecutive months. According to official data released Friday by the INPE research institute; a total of 1,062 square kilometers of the forest was destroyed.

The records were up from 1,043 km2 in the same month in 2020, said the INPE research institute. In total, 3,609 km2 of Amazon was lost in the first quarter of 2021, up 17 percent from the same period in 2020.

The figure was the highest for June since the INPE started gathering data in 2015.

INPE research institute uses satellite images to measure forest cover. The National Institute for Space Research (INPE) is a research unit of the Brazilian Ministry of Science and Technology. Its main goals are fostering scientific research and technological applications and qualifying personnel in the fields of space and atmospheric sciences, space engineering, and space technology. 

 INPE develops research and activities in the fields of meteorological sciences, meteorology by satellite, weather forecasting, and climate. 

Brazil’s government has over time weakened environmental protection and wants to develop protected areas. Since coming to power in 2019, President Jair Bolsonaro has promoted the commercialization of the Amazon forest and described NGOs trying to protect the forest as a “cancer.”

Environmental Activists and indigenous groups say environmental enforcement remains underfunded and denounces the impunity for illegal logging and mining in protected areas. However, the president rejects the criticism and says Brazil remains an example for conservation. 

However, he recently pledged to eliminate Brazil’s illegal deforestation by 2030, some 10 years ahead of target, though environmentalists say he is insincere.

Vice president Hamilton Mourao also last month announced a military operation against Amazonian deforestation.

The Brazilian Environment Minister Ricardo Salles resigned after the Supreme Court ordered an investigation into allegations he was involved in a timber trafficking scheme.

He was replaced by Joaquim Alvaro Pereira Leite, allied to one of the country’s largest agricultural lobby groups.

The Brazilian Amazon forest also marked its worst June for forest fires since 2007 this year, with some 2,308 fires detected—an increase of 2.3 percent from the same month last year.

Also read,

Brazil cuts environment budget a day after the climate summit

Climate and human disturbance threatening carbon uptake in re-growing Amazon forest

8bn people could be at risk of malaria and dengue fever by 2080 as a result of the climate crisis

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