According to the INPE national space agency, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon reached a new high in the first half of 2022.
Since the beginning of the year, the world’s largest tropical rainforest has lost 3,750 square kilometers (1,450 square miles), the worst figures for that period since records began in 2016.
Last year, the worst figure of 3,605 square kilometers was recorded.
The new figure does not even account for the last six days of June.
This year’s June saw the most forest fires in 15 years.
Monthly records were also broken in January, February, and April when deforestation is typically lower.
Last month, INPE satellites detected over 2,500 fires in the Amazon, the most since more than 3,500 were recorded in June 2007, and an 11 percent increase over June 2021.
More than 7,500 fires have been reported since the beginning of the year, representing a 17 percent increase over 2021 and the worst figures since 2010.
“The dry season in the Amazon has only just begun, and we’re already breaking environmental destruction records,” said Cristiane Mazzetti of Greenpeace Brazil.
Environmentalists and opposition figures have accused President Jair Bolsonaro’s administration of enacting policies that encourage large corporations to harm the environment.
“The impact of this negligence will be an increasing loss of resilience of these surroundings, not to mention the damage done to local communities and health,” said Mariana Napolitano of the World Wildlife Fund in Brazil.
In protected areas, Bolsonaro has encouraged mining and farming.
Critics also accuse him of advocating for the impunity of gold prospectors, farmers, and logging traffickers involved in illegal deforestation.
According to the Climate Observatory NGO, the main government environmental protection body spent only 41% of its surveillance budget last year.