Amazon deforestation in Brazil increases by 28% in a year
Deforestation of Brazil’s Amazon increased by 28% between August 2012 and last July, after years of decline, according to Brazilian government. The total land cleared during the period amounted to 2,255 sq miles (5,843 sq km), compared to 4,571 sq km (1,765 sq miles) in the previous 12 months.
The result frustrated the government’s expectations, although, despite the interruption of the decline sequence started in 2009, the latest deforested area still remains the second lowest ever recorded.
Environmentalists say the controversial reform of the forest protection law in 2012 is to blame for the upwards trend. The changes reduced protected areas in farms and declared an amnesty for areas destroyed before 2008. They also say that the government’s push for big infrastructure projects like dams, roads and railways is pushing deforestation.
However, Ms Teixeira said the destruction rate was “unacceptable”, but denied President Dilma Rousseff’s administration were to blame. “This swing is not related to any federal government fund cuts for law enforcement,” she told.
As soon as she returns from Poland, where she is representing Brazil at the United Nations summit on climate change, Ms Teixeira said she would set up a meeting with local governors and mayors of the worst hit areas to discuss strategies to revert the trend.
The Brazilian government made a commitment in 2009 to reduce deforestation in the Amazon by 80% by the year 2020, in relation to the average between 1996 and 2005. It is very important to carry out initiatives like this, because the Amazon is an abundant source of the world’s oxygen and fresh water and considered by scientists to be a crucial buffer against climate change.