Never before has so much been cleared in the rainforest in Brazil as last May. For the first time, more than 1,000 square kilometers were cleared. Criticism comes from the USA, among others.
In the Brazilian Amazon region, 1,180 square kilometers of rainforest were cleared in May alone – a little more than the total area of Hong Kong. This is a 41 percent increase compared to May last year and the third month in a row that Amazon forest deforestation has peaked. That said data from the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), which were released on Friday. In addition, for the first time since records began, an area of over 1,000 square kilometers was cleared in May.
Brazil’s share of the Amazon region, which extends over nine Brazilian states and is considered to be an important CO2 storage facility, corresponds to the size of Western Europe in terms of area. The South American country is therefore assigned a key role in climate protection. The US climate commissioner John Kerry recently made Brazil responsible in the fight against climate change and to preserve the Amazon region.
“The preliminary data on deforestation make it even more clear how much one of the largest biodiversity reserves on the planet is exposed to risks every day,” said Greenpeace Brazil in a statement. For the climate think tank “Observátorio do Klima”, the May data are all the more worrying as the dry season in the Amazon region is only just beginning: “If the trend continues in the next two months, the deforestation rate could end with an unprecedented high in 2021.” The rate refers to the period from August to July.
Criticism of President Bolsonaro
Both organizations also criticized President Jair Bolsonaro and Environment Minister Ricardo Salles, where the federal police carried out house searches on suspicion of illegal timber export. Bolsonaro advocates opening up the Amazon to economic exploitation. He is accused of having created a climate in which farmers feel increasingly encouraged to land for agricultural use. At the same time, environmental and control authorities were weakened. Illegal gold mining is also increasingly destroying indigenous areas. He is often at the beginning of a chain that is followed by lumberjacks and ranchers.