Brazil: Significant drop in Amazon deforestation reported

Brazil: Significant drop in Amazon deforestation reported

BRASILIA, Jan 7 (NNN-MERCOPRESS) — Deforestation alerts in the Amazon fell by 50% in 2023, according to a report from the Deter system released by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE), with data collected until Dec. 29 in an area of 5,152 km². It was the lowest rate since 2018, it also explained. In 2022, the alerts had registered 10,278 km² of deforested areas, the highest level ever.

The legal Amazon includes the States of Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins, and part of Maranhão, and represents 59% of the country’s surface.

However, the Cerrado, the second largest biome, located mostly in the Midwest region, registered a 43% increase in 2023 compared to 2022, reaching 7,828 km², the highest rate in the historical series of the Deter platform. The Cerrado extends through the states of Goiás, Tocantins, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Maranhao, Piauí, Rondônia, Paraná, São Paulo, and the Federal District, in addition to enclaves in Amapá, Roraima and Amazonas.

Experts say the destruction in the Amazon and Cerrado is mainly driven by the expansion of land for agriculture and cattle ranching in Brazil, the world’s leading exporter of soybeans and meat.

The Deter system monitors the loss of vegetation in real time, but it does not represent the official data of the Brazilian government, although it remains useful in the fight against illegal activities. The official calculation of devastation is defined by the Legal Amazon Monitoring Project (Prodes). According to the latest Prodes report, approximately 9,000 km² of forest was deforested between Aug. 2022 and July 2023, the lowest Prodes season since 2019.

Since taking office, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has promoted environmental policies to halt the increasing destruction of the Amazon, which plays a vital role in absorbing the carbon gases that drive global warming. Under former President Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022), deforestation in the Amazon advanced by 75% compared to the average of the previous decade.

The year 2023 was “of some important conquests in the socio-environmental field. It is worth highlighting the significant reduction in deforestation in the Amazon,” said Mariana Napolitano, of the environmental group WWF-Brazil.

— NNN-MERCOPRESS

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