Amazon deforestation

Amazon deforestation hits record high in September

Deforestation of the Amazon has reached an all-time high in 2019

Under the Bolsonaro presidency, the upward trend continues unabatedly

Image credit: Felipe Werneck/Ibama

Deforestation of the Amazon forest continues to grow under the new right-wing Brazilian government. According to the latest data from the Brazilian space agency, INPE, in September the deforested area of the Amazon is 96% larger than in 2018.

The massive leap was recorded by Deter, INPE’s real-time monitoring system that sends out deforestation alerts to the Brazilian environmental agency, Ibama.

Data generated by the Deter platform shows that the devastation has grown by 92.7% between January and September in relation to the same period in 2018. Altogether, 7,584 km² (2928.20 mi2) were destroyed in the first nine months of 2018, while in 2018 that figure was 4.075 km² (1,573 mi2). In 2012, a year with a relatively low deforestation rate, the total forest coverage lost was 4,571 km² (1,765 mi2).

It is hard to gauge the amount of animal life lost to, or displaced by, deforestation and habitat destruction. The Amazon is home to one in every 10 species in the world. Fires do not occur naturally in the rainforest. Therefore, many of the species do not expect fires and are not fast enough to flee.

The acceleration of the destruction of the Amazon is a campaign promise of president Bolsonaro. which he is delivering with amazing efficiency. Although the fires of August and September have gone down, deforestation, which is their precursor, has gone up. This does not bode well for the forest. The destruction cycle starts with the felling of the trees. These are left to dry and then set fire to. There was a moratorium on fires in September and but the only thing it banned was more burning.

“They reduced the level of burning, but not the level of deforestation,” Ane Alencar, the science director of the non-profit Amazon Environmental Research Institute (Ipam), told the BBC. “By the end of August, most of the deforestation in the current year had already happened.”

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