• Sunday, Dec 08, 2019
  • Last Update : 03:28 pm

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon highest since 2008

  • Published at 09:39 pm November 19th, 2019
Amazon
A tract of the Amazon jungle burns as it is cleared by loggers and farmers in Porto Velho, Brazil August 24, 2019 Reuters

Previous data showed clearing in the Amazon nearly doubled in the first eight months of this year, compared with the same period in 2018, to 6,404sqkm

Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in northern Brazil surged to nearly 10,000sqkm in the year to July 2019 - the highest in more than a decade, officials said Monday.

The 29.5% increase from the previous 12-month period comes after fires ravaged swathes of the Amazon this year, igniting a global outcry and diplomatic feud between President Jair Bolsonaro and European leaders. 

Satellite data collected by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) show 9,762sqkm were cleared of trees, INPE officials told AFP. 

That is the highest since the same period in 2008.

Para was the hardest hit of the nine states that make up the Amazon in Brazil, with nearly 4,000sqkm deforested. 

Previous data showed clearing in the Amazon nearly doubled in the first eight months of this year, compared with the same period in 2018, to 6,404sqkm.

Greenpeace blamed the dismantling of environmental protections under Bolsonaro for the sharp increase in deforestation.

Bolsonaro's "government is throwing away all the work that has been done in recent decades for environmental protection," said Cristiane Mazzetti, a Greenpeace campaigner in Brazil.  

Pro-business Bolsonaro took power in January on a promise to open up more of the Amazon to loggers, miners and farmers.

Faced with criticism over the fires and tree clearing, Bolsonaro accused non-government organizations of starting the blazes, and France and others of threatening Brazil's sovereignty over the rainforest.