Smoke from Amazon rainforest fires can increase the melting of glaciers in the Andes 1000 miles away
From Ryan Morrison
The deforestation level of the Amazon rainforest is the worst in more than ten years, according to a new report from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research.
Between August 2018 and July 2019, there was more than 3,700 square miles of deforestation in the Brazilian part of the rainforest, an increase of 30% over the previous year.
The area of deforestation is the largest recorded since 2008 and is about the same size as the US states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.
Chief Kadjyre Kayapo, of the indigenous community of Kayapo, overlooks a path laid out by loggers. A report from the Brazilian government showed that the deforestation rate in the Amazon forest of Brazil is at the highest level in more than ten years
Environment Minister Ricardo Salles will meet the governors of the Amazon on Thursday to discuss efforts to combat deforestation.
He says that illegal mining, logging and land grabbing cause the most deforestation.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has devoted a great deal of energy to environmental expert attacks on the extent of deforestation, including the dismissal of the former head of the Brazilian Space Research Institute.
His government has advocated loosening protection around nature reserves and indigenous countries as a way to promote economic development.
In August, the head of the space research institute Ricardo Galvão was fired shortly after President Bolsonaro accused his office of manipulating deforestation data to make the government look bad.
The president later suggested, without quoting evidence, that non-governmental groups could light some of the fires in the Amazon to draw attention to his administration.
According to the latest report, the Brazilian state of Para represented nearly 40% of all deforestation in the 2018-19 period, but illegal logging increased significantly in the states of Roraima and Amazonas
An aerial photo of a piece of Amazon forest that is burning while being cleared by farmers in Itaituba, Para, Brazil. Environment Minister Ricardo Salles illegal mining, logging and land grabbing cause the most deforestation
The annual data published by the space research firm confirm the institute’s earlier reports that deforestation is increasing.
The latest data is actually 42% higher than what was previously reported.
“It is unacceptable that the Amazon is still being destroyed,” the WWF conservation group said in a statement.
In July and August, the fires in the Amazon region spread at an unprecedented rate since 2010, before declining in September.
Farmers, developers and others often use fire to clear deforested land for soy production or pastures.
“President Bolsonaro’s anti-environmental agenda supports those who commit environmental crime and encourages violence against forest dwellers.
“His administration is destroying almost all the work done in recent decades to protect the environment and end deforestation,” said Cristiane Mazzetti, Amazon Campaigner of Greenpeace Brazil.
An aerial view of deforestation at Nascentes da Serra do Cachimbo Biological Reserve in Altamira, Para State, Brazil. Between August 2018 and July 2019 there were more than 3,700 square miles of deforestation in the Brazilian part of the Amazon rainforest
The Brazilian government has denied any misconduct and says it is taking all necessary measures to protect the Amazon.
Because a fire raged a few months ago, President Bolsonaro sent the army to fight some fires and banned most legal fires for land robbery in the Amazon for two months.
In the end, fires in the Amazon fell below the monthly average.
According to the latest report, the Brazilian state of Para represented nearly 40% of all deforestation in the 2018-19 period, but illegal logging increased significantly in the states of Roraima and Amazonas, officials said.
The report is preliminary and the data will be confirmed next year.