Brazil’s Amazon deforestation has skyrocketed to its highest level in 15 years

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A diseased palm tree affected by a virus that rots trees in the Amazon rainforests of Brazil.

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Deforestation in the Amazon rainforests of Brazil surged in 2021 and reached its highest level in 15 years as it became clear that forests had begun. Emit more carbon than can be absorbed..

National Institute for Space Research (INPE) Last month’s quote Between August 2020 and July 2021, 13,235 square kilometers (5,110 square miles) of forest was cleared. This is the largest area lost to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon since 2006.

Why does Amazon lose trees?

The Amazon rainforest covers land in nine countries, about 60% of which is in Brazil.

According to Greenpeace, one-third of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon is associated with so-called public land acquisition, which is primarily caused by meat producers who free up space for cattle ranches.

At the COP26 Climate Summit in November, Brazil’s President Jail Borsonaro signed an international pledge to end deforestation by 2030.

However, under Bolsonaro’s control, deforestation is increasing in Brazil. He has been criticized for his controversial and efforts in encouraging activities such as mining and agriculture in the Amazon during his presidency. Pass legislation permitting commercial development on protected land. The president also provided financial incentives for indigenous peoples to develop rainforest lands into soybean plantations. According to Reuters..

In August, the Brazilian House of Representatives passed a bill that would make it easier for illegal occupants of public land to be granted certificates to the land.It came later Another bill passed by the House of Representatives in May, Paved the way for Amazon’s mining, agriculture and other projects to become green light more easily. Both bills are currently set to be considered for approval in the Brazilian Senate.

Luciana Gatti, a climate scientist at INPE, described the level of deforestation seen in the Amazon as a “nightmare.”

“It’s really crazy and self-destructive. This is a really nightmare for scientists because I’m trying to advise that this is the exact opposite of where we need to go,” she told CNBC. Told. “Amazon is needed to maintain precipitation, regulate temperature, and absorb CO2.”

International responsibility

Gatti said illegal activity in the Amazon is boosting current deforestation rates, but many countries have participated in the destruction of rainforests by importing certain products such as wood and beef from Brazil. Insisted that.

“If you are importing beef from Brazil, 40% of it comes from Amazon— [many importers] Don’t ask for evidence that these imports do not represent deforestation, “she said. “The problem over the last few years has been that Brazilian money has become very cheap, and they are expanding the size of Amazon’s site.”

One important pledge The Bolsonaro administration created the opening of Brazil’s economy to the world through international trade. Some countries proposed Brazil when wildfires raged in the Amazon in 2019 Need to face economic sanctions If you fail to protect the rainforest. Bolsonaro responded with anger to these proposals, but China is now the largest export market in the country. The world’s largest polluter..

Gatti also said that mining in the rainforest is contaminating the water that indigenous peoples and wildlife depended on to survive.

The government “doesn’t realize that our greatest treasure is the Amazon,” she said. “Amazon is our climate protection because it absorbs carbon and produces precipitation. But now the dry season is dry and hot, and burning is out of control. I try to advise, but they listen. What are you producing for, not lending? Brazil is a terrible future — a nightmare. “

“They want to close my mouth”

“Virtually all fires were caused by people,” he said on the phone. “Sometimes you can start with lightning, but it’s not a coniferous forest like North America where you have a common cause, and it’s not just illegal deforestation, but legal deforestation and legal. There is also deforestation logging. “

“One of the things that is happening is to legalize many things that were previously illegal,” he added. “And there’s at least another year for the current president, which shows that if these things don’t increase, that number will at least remain high.”

Fernside said the legalization of Amazon’s claims on public land made land acquisition even more attractive, saying that deforestation was a “way to bet on land claims” and this stimulated deforestation. rice field.

In Amazonas, he added that about 47% of the states fall into the designated public land category and are vulnerable to land acquirers.

“You have this discourse from the president himself, and also from the minister below who is sending the message that you can break the law and invade these protected areas and you will be forgiven. “Fernside said.

“Continuing at this rate means significant greenhouse gas emissions and other climate impacts for Brazil, but some water is recycled by forests.”

“This year we had a severe drought that had a huge impact, not because of deforestation, but because of global warming,” he added. “But this new level [temperature] Adding variations and reducing water transport from the Amazon is devastating for Brazil. Of course, Brazil is the main victim, but Argentina and other countries are also greatly affected. It’s not global, but it has a huge impact on this part of the world. “

Fix: This story has been updated to fix the conversion to square miles.

Brazil’s Amazon deforestation has skyrocketed to its highest level in 15 years

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