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Amazon rainforest deforestation at record high says INPE report

Sep 13, 2021

Deforestation in the Amazon is up by 30% on last year - its highest rate for more than 10 years.

The Brazilian Space Research Institute (INPE) released figures on Monday, showing the amount of forest lost between August 2018 and July 2019 reached 9,762 square kilometres - an area half the size of Wales. And these new figures do not include the huge areas of the rainforest lost to fires after July 2019. Jair Bolsonaro claims that the figures from the INPE are a lie.

But conservationists around the world say Mr Bolsonaro and his government are turning a blind eye to farmers and loggers clearing land in the Amazon - speeding up deforestation.

But Brazil's president, Jair Bolsonaro, has described INPE's report as a "lie". People have also blamed his new government policies for causing an increase in the Amazon fires.

This is because Bolsonaro eased regulations that protected parts of the Amazon so that he could make room for more areas to raise cattle and grow crops, in order to increase Brazil's economy. To make room for cattle and crops, indigenous villages have been taken over, trees have been taken down and land is burnt - producing ash which acts as a nutrient for new crops to grow.

This is known as the 'slash and burn' technique. Greenpeace Brazil's Cristiane Mazzetti spoke about the president's decisions saying: "His administration is trashing practically all the work that has been done in recent decades to protect the environment and end deforestation."

Bolsonaro denies his policies have had a negative impact on the Amazon and claims that the fires were "below the historical average". However, there's evidence that the Amazon fires are linked to an increase in deforestation, according to a report by scientists at the University of Lancaster and the Universidade Federal do Pará, Brazil, published in the Journal of Global Change Biology. To make a difference to these figures, deforestation must be drastically reduced.

Brazil's Environment Ministry officials say they will meet the Amazon region's governors later in the week to discuss how they can do this, according to news reports.

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