Amazon Deforestation in July Increased 278% over Same Period in 2018

James Marshall
August 11, 2019

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain elected a year ago, has always been skeptical of environmental issues, and has repeatedly said the Amazon is a resource that belongs to Brazil, which Brazilians should choose how to administer.

The Bolsonaro government has persisted in its attacks on the INPE data.

It said a first step would be to block payment of 35 million euros ($40 million) for forest conservation and biodiversity programmes until the rate of decline attained encouraging levels once again.

Figures by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) show Brazilian authorities removed 2,254 square kilometers of rainforest in July 2019, which is a 278% increase on the month in 2018. According to the Associated Press, this is the single biggest surge in rainforest destruction since INPE began monitoring deforestation with its current methodology in 2014.

President Jair Bolsonaro took office on January 1 and critics fear the climate change sceptic's pro-agrobusiness policies will accelerate deforestation.

Ribeiro criticized the way the government has been imposing its environmental agenda.

On the campaign trail, Bolsonaro vowed to help mining and agribusiness companies expand their activities in environmentally protected areas, including the Amazon.

Bolsonaro (L) and his environment minister, Ricardo Salles, have focused energy in 2019 on weakening Brazilian environmental legislation. Galvão upheld the institute's deforestation data and reacted to Bolsonaro's personal attacks. Galvao has strongly denied manipulating statistics, and has received backing from scientists and academics since his dismissal.

The government also uses another satellite imaging system to monitor the Amazon rainforest, PRODES, in place since the early 1980s.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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