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Brazil’s Deforestation Rose by 150 Percent During Bolsonaro’s Last Month

THE rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rose by 150 per cent in December from the previous year, according to staggering new figures, hitting its highest level since 2015.

In a bleak report on far-right former president Jair Bolsonaro’s final month in office, 84.3 square miles of forest cover was destroyed in Brazil’s share of the rainforest in December, according to satellite monitoring, up from the 33.7 square miles that was lost in December 2021.

Mr Bolsonaro, who was replaced on January 1 by leftist President Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva, triggered an international outcry during his four years in office for a surge of fires and clear-cutting in the region, whose huge rainforest is a key resource in the fight to curb climate change.

Under the former president, average deforestation there rose by 75.5 per cent from the previous decade.

Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Climate Observatory, a coalition of environmental groups, said: “Bolsonaro’s government may be over, but his tragic environmental legacy will still be felt for a long time.”

Experts say the destruction of the rainforest has mainly been driven by farms and land-grabbers clearing forests for cattle and crops.

In his previous administrations from 2003 to 2010, Lula presided over a sharp drop in the rate of deforestation.

He has promised that his new administration will reboot Brazil’s environmental protection programmes, and fight deforestation; veteran environmentalist Marina Silva has been appointed by Lula as the new minister for the environment.

She will face the task of rebuilding the environmental protection agencies, which were gutted by the previous administration.

The respected environmental activist and politician vowed last week to ensure Brazil stops being an international pariah on climate issues.

Source: Morning Star Online