Despite announcements from the Government of President Jair Bolsonaro that action would be taken to reverse the trend, deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has reached new highs in January of 2022, it was reported Friday.
Facing international pressure, Brazil last year pledged to end illegal deforestation by 2028.
Deforestation totalled 430sq kilometres (166sq miles) last month, five times worse than in January of 2021, according to a report released by the national space research agency Inpe. It was also the worst January since the current measuring system began in 2015.
Environmental researchers have been decrying Bolsonaro has never stopped weakening protections since taking office in 2019 to favor the more profitable commercial farming and mining.
Forests are being cleared for ranches in illegal land grabs as high prices for beef, soy and other commodities keep boosting the demand for cheap land.
Nevertheless, the Environment Ministry has advised against the use of one-month data because it hid the bigger picture, which would show that between August and January deforestation fell slightly compared with the same period a year ago, which would reflect the Government's commitment in this regard.
Environmental groups have also warned a sharp increase in forest fires in Colombia's Amazon had been detected as logging kept making way for cattle ranches, coca fields and illegal roads.
More than 150 scholars and activists from Colombia, Brazil, France and Spain sent a letter to Colombia’s President Ivan Duque urging the government to take a more aggressive stance against deforestation.
The preservation of the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, is vital to curbing climate change because of the vast amount of greenhouse gas absorbed in its trees.
Soon after last year's climate summit in Glasgow, Inpe released data showing that deforestation in 2021 in the Brazilian Amazon had hit the highest point in 15 years. The preliminary data for January shows the destruction is continuing to mount. Environment believe deforestation will only stop rising if Bolsonaro loses the presidential election in October.