The official data released on Friday said that the deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has increased by a record of 25% year-on-year for the first half of 2020. Due to this, it increases the pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro to halt its development projects in the region.

Brazilian Amazon Deforestation Increases To 25%, Official Data Showed
(Photo : Reuters Connect)
FILE PHOTO: Billows of smoke rise over a deforested plot of the Amazon jungle in Porto Velho, Rondonia State, Brazil

According to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), about 1,184 miles (3,069 kilometers) were affected by the deforestation. It is the largest figure since satellite data had been collected in 2015.

Moreover, the month of June marks the start of the dry season and fires also hit a record of more than 642 square miles (1,034 square kilometers). This record is 11% higher compared to the previous year.

Large-Scale Deforestation in Brazil

Due to the large-scale deforestation and fires that destroy the largest rainforest in the world during the dry season, Brazil has been criticized by a lot of countries and also environmental groups.

Science director for the World Wildlife Fund-Brazil Mariana Napolitano said that deforestation took off in 2019 so this should not be repeated this year, in 2020. However, it is here again and getting worse despite the military action in the Brazilian Amazon.

Authorities said that the leading causes of deforestation in the region includes illegal logging by the timber industry, as well as mining and cattle ranching in the protected areas.

President Jair Bolsonaro, a climate change skeptic, is the one facilitating the farming and mining projects on the protected lands as well as on the indigenous reserves.

To take "preventive and restrictive action against environmental crimes, namely illegal deforestation and wildfires," Bolsonaro deployed military troops on May in the Amazon before the burning season began.

The Brazilian president's office said on Thursday that he is expected to decree a ban next week on agricultural burning for four months, the time covered by the dry season, to avoid massive wildfires.

This is to prevent repeating the wildfires last year that destroyed vast amounts of the Amazon, which triggered arguments between several of the Western leaders.

However, despite the presence of the military defense, the data from INPE shows an increase in deforestation for each month of 2020, beginning in January, compared to the data last year of the same period.

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Pressure From the Investors

In an open letter to Bolsonaro last month, investment funds from Europe, Asia, and South America worth $4 billion collectively demanded that the Brazilian president stop the projects that threaten to accelerate the destruction of the planet's largest rainforest.

According to the country's Vice President Hamilton Mourao, head of Brazil's National Council for the Amazon, international investors want Brazil to show "results" in preventing deforestation before they will consider participating in Brazil's environmental protection projects.

Moreover, he denied that his country was dismantling the environmental protection structure of the state, and he also said that: "It's not true that we're destroying the jungle to produce food."

Muorao spoke with representatives of the nine investment funds on Thursday and met with businessmen on Friday who equally expressed concern about Brazil's policy that is slowly destroying the international image of Brazil.

The president has shown little concern for the environment and even repeatedly said that he would like to open up indigenous territories and nature reserves to mining and agriculture. This was frowned upon by non-governmental organizations pointing out that this contradicts the military inspection and protection of the Amazon.

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