The deforestation of the Amazon in Brazil reached a record high in April Business news

Author: FABIANO MAISONNAVE, Associated Press

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) – Deforestation discovered in the Brazilian Amazon broke all records for April, following similar new records set in January and February, reflecting a worrying rise in destruction in the country deep in the rainforest.

Satellite deforestation warnings for April corresponded to more than 1,000 square kilometers (nearly 400 square miles), the highest figure for this month in seven years of record keeping and 74% more than in the same month in 2021, a previous record.

This was the first time that warnings of deforestation in one month during the rainy season, which lasted from December to April, exceeded 1,000 square kilometers.

“The April issue is very scary. Rain is traditionally a month with less deforestation, ”Suely Araújo, a senior public policy expert at the Climate Observatory, a network of environmental groups, told the Associated Press.

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The data comes from the control system of the Brazilian space agency Deter and corresponds to the first 29 days of April. Data for the full month will be available next week.

Prior to January, Deter’s data showed 430 square kilometers of deforestation, which is more than four times more than in the same month last year. In February, it reached 199 square kilometers, which is 62% more than in 2021.

The Amazon is the largest tropical rainforest in the world and a huge carbon sink. There is widespread concern that its destruction will not only release huge amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, further complicating hopes of halting climate change, but will also push it beyond a tipping point where much of the forest will begin an irreversible process of degradation into tropical savannas. .

In April, deforestation was led by the state of Amazonas, which only overtook the states of Para and Mato Grosso for the second time in the record. This is particularly worrying as the Amazonas is deep in the rainforest and has remained intact given the so-called deforestation arc along the areas used for agriculture and livestock.

“Amazonas is still a very well-preserved country. If deforestation explodes there, we will lose control of a region that is outside the area of ​​traditional deforestation, ”said Araújo, former chairman of Brazil’s environmental regulator, by telephone.

The destruction of the Amazon focuses on the southern part of the country, where President Jair Bolsonaro has promised to pave a 400-kilometer (250-mile) section of the BR-319 highway connecting the cities of Manaus and Porto Velho. The anticipation of paving sparked speculation with highway property; land grabbers are engaged in large-scale deforestation with the expectation that areas will become legal for agriculture or livestock farming in the future.

A study published last week by Observatory BR-319, a network of environmental nonprofits, revealed a nearly 3,000-kilometer (more than 1,800 miles) network of secondary roads within highway reach. Roads are used primarily to access areas desired by land grabbers and loggers.

Historically, the opening and paving of highways has been a major factor in deforestation in the Amazon. Easier access increases the value of land and enables the survival of economic activities, especially cattle breeding.

“We need a regional development model that is compatible with environmental protection. The solution is not simply paving the roads, ”Araújo said. According to him, the government must change completely, but the opposite is happening. “Amazoi is controlled by landowners, illegal loggers and miners. Crime is a reality.”

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