Amazon Deforestation At Highest Rate on Record

Amazon Deforestation At Highest Rate on Record

Deforestation rate climbs higher as Amazon moves into the burning season

  • Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon climbed higher for the fifteenth straight month, reaching levels not seen since the mid-2000s, according to data released today by Brazil’s national space research institute INPE.
  • INPE’s satellite-based deforestation alert system detected 1,034 square kilometers of forest clearing during June 2020 bringing the twelve-month total to 9,564 sq km, 89% higher than a year ago.
  • The extent of deforestation over the past year is the highest on record since INPE started releasing monthly numbers in 2007.
  • The 12-month deforestation rate has risen 96% since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January 2019.

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon climbed higher for the fifteenth straight month, reaching levels not seen since the mid-2000s, according to data released today by Brazil’s national space research institute INPE. The news comes as the region moves into the dry season, when deforestation and forest fires typically accelerate.

INPE’s satellite-based deforestation alert system detected 1,034 square kilometers of forest clearing during June 2020 bringing the twelve-month total to 9,564 sq km, 89% higher than a year ago. The extent of deforestation over the past year is the highest recorded since INPE started releasing monthly numbers in 2007.

The 12-month deforestation rate has risen 96% since President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January 2019.

Under pressure from big companies and the E.U. over rising deforestation and fire risk in the Amazon, the Bolsonaro Administration on Wednesday decreed a 120-day ban on fires in the Amazon. The administration had already deployed the army to the region to try to rein in burning, but fires are already well underway despite it being early in the dry season, according to analysis of satellite data by Amazon Conservation’s MAAP project.

MAAP found there are have been 14 major fires in the Amazon this year through July 2nd. MAAP’s analysis excludes fires in pasture and scrub lands, providing a clearer picture on fires associated with recent deforestation and in existing forest.

Deforestation has been trending upward in the Brazilian Amazon since 2012, but the rate of loss has dramatically accelerated over the past year-and-a-half as the Bolsonaro Administration has relaxed law enforcement, stripped conservation areas and indigenous lands of protection, promoted mining and industrial forest conversion, and tried to pass policies weakening environmental safeguards in the region.

Scientists have warned that the Amazon rainforest may be approaching a tipping point where the forest shifts toward a drier, savanna-like ecosystem. Such a transition could have significant and sustained impacts on local and regional rainfall patterns, while triggering the release of vast amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.


Published on the 10th July 2020, you can read the original and full article, with associated graphs and images here:

13 thoughts on “Amazon Deforestation At Highest Rate on Record”

  1. The report uses the phrase, “under pressure from big companies and the E.U.”

    What pressure? All we ever hear in terms of “pressure” on governments is demands, and (at most) sanctions against individuals. And sanctions on individuals is like telling someone on the other side of town, “Stop raping minors, or you’ll be banned from visiting my house.”

    The only way to stop rape of the Amazon is to stop buying Brazilian products. The principal product driving the rape is ethanol, and the market for Brazilian ethanol is Europe. So stop buying Brazilian ethanol (plus minerals and agricultural products), and Brazil will change its behavior.

    The same goes for Chinese human rights violations in Hong Kong, and against the Uighur minority — where there is now solid evidence of the forced implantation of intra-uterine contraceptive devices (IUDs), and the mass sterilization of Uighur women.

    But the world won’t boycott Chinese products (many of which are made by slave labor) because they’re cheap, and because those same “big companies” are invested in China.

    So, the problem with the Amazon rainforest and minorities in China is the same problem that keeps the world spewing carbon into the atmosphere, using plastic packaging, importing and exporting beef — and launching hundreds of daily flights, for such urgent necessities as the transportation of cut flowers around the world as temporary decorations; or to ship dead chickens from the U.S. to China for filleting and packaging, and back to the U.S. to be sold and eaten.

    That’s globalization — massive rape and waste for fun and short-term profits. And everyone who participates in the global economy is a rapist.

  2. Bolsonarism will only remain in power while it remains useful to Washington. Then he might be replaced by someone Green-New-Deal friendly who turns the Amazon into a “national park” in the same colonialist fashion of African and North American national parks: kill/evict the indigenous and then open it for white tourists. I’m saying this to demonstrate that Bolsonaro is not the problem; imperialism and global capitalism are.

  3. @ I: There was an interesting interview on “Amanpour & Co.,” earlier this week, with Brazilian filmmaker Petra Costa, who mentioned two interesting quotes: The first was Bolsonaro himself, 20 years ago, saying “Bring on the dictatorship,!”

    The second was Bolsonaro’s own son, very recently, who said, “The only question isn’t whether there will be a military coup, but when.”

    Question: Is Brazilian democracy strong enough to resist a military takeover?

  4. @I.
    The more natural places that can be depopulated of humans, the better. Traditional indigenous people, especially the few remaining hunter-gatherers, cause the least harm, but hey: humans are everywhere on Earth like some sort of plague, and it’s way past time to give a large chunk of the planet back to the other species. If humans live in small numbers as hunter-gatherers, that’s fine, but otherwise they’re a problem.

  5. Mark, if you did watch that documentary you know that there’s no democracy in Brazil since 2016, and that Bolsonaro is the culmination of a long, slow erosion of democracy which, from a domestic point of view, began in 2013.

    The Edge of Democracy is a good film as far as Brazilian domestic politics are concerned. Unfortunately it does not address the enormous US interference in Brazil. It doesn’t mention, for example, that Justice Moro and prosecutor Dallagnol were trained by the US Department of Justice, that the FBI has been conducting investigations in Brazilian territory freely since at least 2004, that AS/COA held at least one meeting with Bolsonaro and his advisors in 2017, or that Silvercorp (the same mercenaries that were recently caught in Venezuela after yet another failed coup attempt) had agents in Brazil at the time of the elections won by Bolsonaro, or how English-language media was uncritically cheering the engineered protests of 2013-2015 in a similar way they’re uncritically cheering the Hong Kong “””protests””” right now. Had Petra dared mention this kind of thing, she would not have received an Oscar nomination.

    Bolsonaro, and before him Michel Temer, simply happened to be the men available to Wall Street in 2016-2018 to protect its interests in Latin America and stop the rise of the Brazilian center-left. The moral of this story is: global capitalist elites don’t really mind having actual fascists in charge of the Amazon, *as long as it keeps away even the mildest social democracy.*

    Brasilwire.com is a fairly good source of English-language information about Brazil. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good start.

  6. Jeff, even from your characteristic human-hating perspective, the idea of evicting any indigenous peoples from the Amazon is nonsense. The best protectors of the Amazon are its indigenous peoples. They have always been. They have been there for thousands of years. Defending their rights is the same as defending the Amazon. They are “the Amazon”, too.

    The underlying assumption of national parks are 1-white people know better how to protect the environment (a rather ridiculous assumption, since they have repeatedly proved the contrary); 2-nature is primarily for white people to enjoy and therefore must be emptied of those pesky brown people. If you think I’m exaggerating, just study the history of “””conservation””” orgs such as WWF and WCS. They’re rooted in white supremacy.

    White gringos don’t get to decide which indigenous peoples are “allowed” to live in their own land. This is literal colonial behaviour.

  7. @I.
    As usual, you are obsessed with your political issues that have nothing to do with the natural environment, and you don’t understand any of this. TRADITIONAL indigenous people, aka hunter-gatherers, are all the only indigenous people relevant to this discussion. Indigenous people who treat the environment like colonizers do are just as bad for the environment as the colonizers. Many of the people who are destroying the rainforest in Brazil are indigenous, so what? They should be given a pass on environmental destruction because they’re indigenous? (I realize that there are large corporations behind much if not most of this destruction, but that doesn’t mean that some indigenous people aren’t doing it too.)

    I never advocated “parks,” that’s your thing. Depopulating areas means removing ALL humans, including white people. And again, hunter-gatherers don’t need to be removed because they cause little or no harm. If people who do the most harm were depopulated first, that would mean removing industrial and high tech humans, who are mostly white. But speaking for the overwhelming majority of life on Earth, which is NOT human, any land that could be depopulated of humans so that other species could get some space would be a very good thing.

  8. “Many of the people who are destroying the rainforest in Brazil are indigenous, so what?”

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Sure, white gringo, go lecture Amazonian indigenous peoples on how they’re destroying the rainforest. I’m sure they will listen carefully and not laugh one bit.

  9. @I.
    You think that you are such a hip lefty radical, but you’re actually reactionary. You are racist because you call people names based on race without any justification. I advocate for the rainforest and all NATURAL life there. The ONLY natural human life there is the hunter-gatherers. This has absolutely nothing to do with the color of anyone’s skin. But I understand that you don’t get any of this, so I’ll just leave it at that.

    And BTW, notice that you didn’t respond to any of the issues I raised. NOT ONE!!! That shows that you really have nothing useful to say.

  10. Lol which issues? “I don’t understand the relations between politics and the environment, therefore I know better than Amazonians how to protect the Amazon”? Is that what you want me to answer? Do you think I have time for gringosplaining? Do you have any self-awareness at all?

  11. @ I & Jeff:
    Entertaining exchange, and you both scored some points.
    Like “I,” I also cringe when I hear so-called “environmentalists” say that parks “preserve Nature for future generations” of humans, when the whole point of preservation is protection FROM humans.
    But the fact that white people came up with the idea of parks doesn’t make them anti-brown or anti-black. Nor is every industrial scheme a racist plot against everyone who isn’t white.
    Look at the skyline of any capital city in Africa, Asia, or South America, and you’ll quickly see that industrial capitalism is colorblind.

  12. @Mark
    The problem with I. is that she focuses on the color of people’s skin, similar to identity politics, instead of what they do. Indigenous people who act like colonizers are just as bad as the colonizers, while white people who support the TRADITIONAL indigenous people and the natural environment are better than the NON-traditional indigenous people. It’s not about whether people are indigenous, it’s about what they do. Focusing on how people are born instead of what they do is racist, and that’s what I’s comments are.

  13. The challenge I made previously stays, Jeff. All that you’re saying to me (and about me), get on a boat down the Amazon river and go catechize the indigenous about. Explain them in detail HOW their way of life is destroying the environment they have always been a part of and depend on to survive. Then, let them know from your big gringo brain, that just arrived but obviously understands the local ecosystem much better than those clueless souls who have been part of it for thousands of years, how they can become better, more sustainable Amazonian indigenous. At the end, don’t forget to teach them the Holy Father to help them follow your enlightened guidance!

    Let us know how it goes!
    Have a safe trip!

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