Deforestation in Brazilian Amazon Spikes to 12-Year High | Amazon Watch
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Deforestation in Brazilian Amazon Spikes to 12-Year High

A 9.5 percent jump in Amazon deforestation since 2019 is closely linked to President Bolsonaro's anti-environmental agenda, threatening the future of the world's largest rainforest

November 30, 2020 | For Immediate Release


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Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased 9.5 percent between August 1, 2019 and July 31, 2020, according to data released today by the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research (INPE). Nearly 11,088 km² (4,281 mi²) of rainforest were deforested in this period – equivalent to an area the size of Jamaica –compared to 10,129 km² recorded in the same 12 months last year (2018-2019).

Since Brazil’s President Bolsonaro took power, Amazon deforestation has steadily increased, interrupting a period of ten years in which deforestation was below 10,000 km² (3,861 mi²). This explosive rate of forest loss greatly exceeds the country’s own target established in its 2010 National Policy on Climate Change, where a maximum of 3,900 km² of deforestation was projected for 2020. Brazil is 180 percent above its target, greatly undermining its ability to fulfill commitments in the Paris Climate Accord expected to go into effect in 2021. This spike in forest destruction led Brazil to be the only country in the world reporting a major increase in greenhouse gas emissions, in a year when the global economy stalled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Deforestation observed over the course of the year occurred mainly in the Amazonian state of Pará, which accounted for 46.8 percent of the deforestation.

Christian Poirier, Program Director of Amazon Watch, issued the following statement:

“The unchecked destruction of the Brazilian Amazon under the Bolsonaro regime threatens not only the future of the forest, but our collective future as well. In today’s vast levels of deforestation, we see the fruition of Bolsonaro’s disastrous agenda. Environmental crime runs rampant as state environmental agencies are laid to waste. Every square mile of forest loss pushes the Amazon and the global climate closer to an irreversible tipping point.

While Indigenous people are being killed for defending their territories, criminal land invaders and speculators are growing rich as they mine, log, and clear the Amazon with impunity. The regime has done nothing to protect Indigenous people or halt these activities. Instead, Bolsonaro has explicitly encouraged these crimes, while global corporations act as willing accomplices. We are witnessing the definitive destruction of the Amazon and the institutionalized genocide of the Indigenous peoples of Brazil.”

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