Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon broke all records in the first half of 2022 due to the increasing devastation under the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro. Satellite images taken between January and June show that 4,000 square kilometers of forests have been destroyed. This is, for six months, the largest number since data collection using the current methodology began seven years ago.
According to an analysis by the Institute for Environmental Research in the Amazon (IPAM), about half of deforestation is believed to have occurred on public lands. The size of the cleared area will be four times larger than New York City. In Brazil, a pattern has emerged of criminals expropriating public lands and waiting to legalize agriculture or livestock. In addition to real estate transactions, illegal timber, and a lack of enforcement, this pattern is contributing to increased deforestation. This was reported by Alencar, the scientific director of IPAM, to the US news agency “Associated Press.”
However, the record is great for the rainy season. Historically, deforestation increased in the second half of the drier year, as remote areas of the Amazon are easily accessible via unpaved roads.
Perhaps the main reason for this record lies in the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro. The area devastated is 80 percent larger than the area cleared around the same period in 2018, the year Bolsonaro took office as president. This is evident from an analysis conducted by IPAM.
The South American country will elect a new president in October, a period when law enforcement in the Amazon region tends to wane. Bolsonaro will run for a second term, but is currently trailing the Social Democrat and former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva in opinion polls.
The perennial forest has no value in the Amazon today.
“Those who control the Amazon don’t want to keep it,” Director Alencar told the Associated Press in a phone interview. “Permanent jungle no longer has any value in the present-day Amazon.”
The most predatory cuttings occurred in the state of Amazonas. This bypassed the states of Pará and Mato Grosso, where more trees were historically lost. This is a worrying trend, given that Amazonas lie deep in the rainforest and the region has remained pristine in the past.
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