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New Record: Brazil’s Amazon Deforestation Hits April High

New Record: Brazil’s Amazon Deforestation Hits April High
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By Staff, Agencies

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon surged to record levels for the month of April, nearly doubling the area of forest removed in that month last year – the previous April record – preliminary government data has shown, alarming environmental campaigners.

In the first 29 days of April, deforestation in the region totaled 1,012.5 square km, according to data from national space research agency Inpe on Friday. The agency, which has compiled the monthly data series since 2015/2016, will report data for the final day of April next week.

April is the third monthly record this year, after new highs were also observed in January and February.

Destruction of the Brazilian Amazon in the first four months of the year also hit a record for the period of 1,954 square km, an increase of 69% compared to the same period of 2021, clearing an area more than double the size of New York City.

Deforestation in the Amazon has soared since rightwing president Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019 and weakened environmental protection. Bolsonaro argues that more farming and mining in the Amazon will reduce poverty in the region.

“The cause of this record has a first and last name: Jair Messias Bolsonaro,” said Marcio Astrini, head of Brazilian advocacy group Climate Observatory, in a statement. Bolsonaro’s office directed questions to the ministries of environment and justice.

The ministries said in a joint statement the government was making major efforts to fight environmental crimes and that police and environmental authorities were cooperating on an operation to combat deforestation in five Amazon states.

Preservation of the Amazon is vital to stopping catastrophic climate change because of the vast amount of climate-warming carbon dioxide it absorbs.

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