The depletion in the Amazon takes on ever greater proportions. From August 2018 to the end of July 2019, a total of 9762 square kilometers of forest have been destroyed, said the Brazilian space institute Inpe. This roughly corresponds to the area of Cyprus and an increase of almost 30 percent compared to the same period of the previous year.
Deforestation was similarly high in 2008. At that time, more than 12,000 square kilometers of forest disappeared within 12 months. Earth observation satellites regularly record the Amazon rainforest and provide the Inpe with data for its analysis.
Violent forest fires raged in Brazil during the summer. Environmentalists and indigenous groups accuse Brazil's right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro of creating a climate in which farmers, lumberjacks and gold diggers are encouraged to make more forest destruction.
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Bolsonaro is also criticized internationally for its environmental protection policy. So he refused in connection with the heavy fires in the summer, first payments from the G7 countries, and then to provide conditions under which he would accept the help.
Biggest rainforest on earth
Among other things, Bolsonaro accuses France of undermining its sovereignty. President Emmanuel Macron had called the "emergency" because of the fires in the rainforest.
In August Bolsonaro also dismissed the head of the Inpe, Ricardo Galvao. Previously, he claimed that the Institute had manipulated the rainforest logging data in Brazil to harm the government (read more here). He also accused environmentalists of laying part of the fires. He did not provide any evidence for that.
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The new figures are not surprising given the events of recent months. As early as October 2019, an Inpe analysis revealed that between January and September more than 7,800 square kilometers had been deforested. The value was even more than 90 percent over the same period of the previous year.
The Amazon rainforest is the largest tropical rainforest on earth. It stores enormous quantities of the climate-damaging greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2). That is why it is of great importance for the world climate. In addition, it contains a huge biodiversity.