Deforestation in Brazil has jumped 67% since January

Deforestation in Brazil jumped 67 percent in the first seven months of the year, according to preliminary data from the Brazilian space agency whose work is being attacked by the government of far-right president Jair Bolsonaro.

The satellite monitoring system set up by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) recorded at the end of July the destruction of 4699 km2 of tropical forest, compared to 2810 km2 during the same period of 2018.

In July alone, 2255 km2 of Amazon rainforest disappeared, almost the size of Luxembourg and more than three times more than in July 2018 (597 km2), figures published online by INPE .

Having come to power in January, Jair Bolsonaro pledged to promote the development of the Amazon by opening it more to agricultural and mining investments. He promised to relax the environmental regulations put in place by his predecessors and to reduce the fines imposed on loggers and farmers who violate them.

President Bolsonaro violently attacked data provided by the INPE , whose director dismissed him Friday, accusing him of lying to the detriment of the interests of Brazil.

The space agency defends the accuracy of its data. Ricardo Galvao, the dismissed director of INPE, said Saturday that he will continue to defend the work of his agency, which notes an “undeniable” peak of deforestation.

Retired colonel, Darcton Policarpo Damiao, was appointed on Monday to replace him as head of the INPE.

The Amazon rainforest, the largest carbon sink in the world, is 60% in the territory of Brazil, which is a key country in the fight against climate change.

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