A very sad figure.
Some 580 km2 of forest were cleared in the Brazilian Amazon in April.
A record for this month, according to official data released on Friday which casts doubt on President Jair Bolsonaro's commitment to reducing deforestation.
The deforested area (550.55 km2) is 42.5% greater than that of April 2020 (407.2 km2), according to the National Institute for Special Research (INPE) which has been collecting this type of data since 2015. Deforestation in March 2021 had already experienced a higher level than that of the same period in 2020, after two months of decline which correspond to the rainy season and to an activity of the timber industry at half mast.
Fire in Brazil: "We must fight against the gangs that are rampant in the Amazon"
Since the beginning of the year and until April 29, deforestation for the timber industry and for agriculture has however reached 1156.7 km2, down 3.9% compared to the same period in 2020. The dry season, which lasts from May to August, generally experiences a higher rate of deforestation.
Over the past three years, the August-July reference period has seen successive records.
"It is not yet possible to predict what will happen, but in 2021 there could be a fourth consecutive increase in deforestation," warned the Climate Observatory, a network of about sixty NGOs and associations.
Exploitation encouraged by Bolsonaro
The Brazilian president, a notorious climate skeptic, has encouraged commercial exploitation of the world's largest rainforest since taking office in 2019. In April, at the virtual climate summit organized by US President Joe Biden, the far-right leader however pledged to "eliminate illegal deforestation in Brazil by 2030". This speech much more conciliatory than usual was however greeted with skepticism by environmentalists. "In 2021, there is no federal effort to control deforestation […] and the process of repression of environmental crimes has been paralyzed by the Minister" of the Environment, Ricardo Salles, estimates the Climate Observatory.
The pressure on Brazil has increased recently with the threat of some forty distributors, companies and mainly European federations to boycott Brazilian agricultural products if the country does not withdraw an agrarian reform project that risks accelerating, according to them. , the deforestation of the Amazon.
According to a study published this Thursday in Nature Climate Change, the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, victim of climate change and human activities, has rejected over the past ten years more carbon than it has absorbed, a major and unprecedented shift.