- Deforestation of Brazil’s rainforests increased again in May – for the third month in a row and at a record level.
- In May, nearly 1,200 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest was cleared, more than Hong Kong’s total area, according to data from the National Institute for Space Research.
- This is a 41 percent increase compared to May last year.
In addition, for the first time since registration began, an area of more than 1,000 square kilometers was cleared in May.
Brazil’s share of the Amazon, which spans across nine Brazilian states and is an important carbon dioxide storage facility, matches the size of Western Europe in terms of area. So this South American country has been assigned a major role in protecting the climate. US Climate Commissioner John Kerry recently held Brazil responsible for fighting climate change and preserving the Amazon.
The dry season is just the beginning
“Preliminary data on deforestation further demonstrates the extent to which one of the planet’s largest biodiversity reserves is threatened every day,” said a statement from Greenpeace Brazil.
For the Climate Research Center “Observátorio do Klima”, the May dates are the most worrisome because the dry season in the Amazon has just begun: “If this trend continues in the next two months, the rate of deforestation may end with a period of unprecedented high in 2021.” The rate refers to the period from August to July.
Criticism of Bolsonaro
The two organizations also criticized President Jair Bolsonaro and Environment Minister Ricardo Salles, as federal police searched homes on suspicion of illegal timber export. Bolsonaro calls for opening the Amazon to economic exploitation.
He is accused of creating a climate in which farmers feel increasingly encouraged to land for agricultural use. At the same time, environmental and regulatory authorities have been weakened. Illicit gold mining is also increasingly destroying indigenous areas. It is often at the beginning of a streak, followed by lumberjacks and ranchers.
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