Brazilian Amazon deforestation hits record high for April

Deforestation detected in the Brazilian Amazon broke all records for the month of April, and this follows similar new records set in January and February, reflecting a worrying increase in destruction in a state deep in the forest. tropical.

Satellite deforestation alerts for April matched more than 1,000 square kilometers, the highest figure for that month in seven years of record keeping and 74% higher than the same month in 2021, which was the previous record.

It was the first time that deforestation alerts exceeded 1,000 square kilometers for a month during the rainy season, which runs from December to April.

“The April issue is very scary. Due to the rain, it’s traditionally been a month with less deforestation,” Suely Araújo, senior public policy specialist at the Climate Observatory, told The Associated Press. a network of environmental groups.

The data comes from the Brazilian space agency’s Deter monitoring system and corresponds to the first 29 days of April. Full month figures will be available next week.

Deterrent data previously showed 430 square kilometers of deforestation in January, more than four times the level for the same month last year. In February, it reached 199 square kilometers, up 62% from 2021.

The Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world and a huge carbon sink.

FILE – In this Nov. 23, 2019 file photo, a burned area of ​​the Amazon rainforest is seen in Prainha, Para state, Brazil.

There are widespread concerns that its destruction will not only release huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, further complicating hopes of stopping climate change, but will also push it beyond a tipping point after which a large part of the forest will begin an irreversible process of degradation in tropical forest. savannah.

Amazonas state led deforestation in April, overtaking Para and Mato Grosso states for only the second time. This is particularly worrying because Amazonas is deep in rainforest and has remained untouched by the so-called arc of deforestation along areas used for agriculture and ranching.

“Amazonas is still a very preserved state. If deforestation explodes there, we will lose control of an area that is outside the traditional deforestation zone,” Araújo, a former president of Brazil’s environmental regulator, said by phone.

The destruction of Amazonas has been concentrated in the southern part of the state, where President Jair Bolsonaro has promised to pave a 400-kilometer stretch of land from the BR-319 highway that connects the cities of Manaus and Porto Velho . The anticipation of paving generated real estate speculation along the highway; land grabbers engage in large-scale deforestation in the hope that areas will become legal for farming or cattle ranching in the future.

A study released last week by the BR-319 Observatory, a network of nonprofit environmental organizations, found a network of nearly 3,000 kilometers of secondary roads near the highway. Roads are mainly used to get to areas desired by land grabbers and loggers.

Historically, the opening and paving of highways has been the main driver of deforestation in the Amazon. Easier access raises land values ​​and makes economic activities, including livestock, viable.

“We need a regional development model compatible with environmental protection. The solution is not just to pave the roads,” said Araújo. Governance must change entirely, he said, but the opposite is happening. “The Amazon is controlled by landowners, loggers and illegal miners. Crime is reality.

About Yvonne Lozier

Check Also

It’s harder in California to steal, sell catalytic converters

Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Sunday that he had signed legislation to crack down on …