Brazil’s indigenous reservations have acted as a barrier against deforestation over the past three decades. Though destruction of the Amazon rainforest has accelerated recently under President Jair Bolsonaro. This is according to a new study.
Just 1.6 percent was on indigenous lands, of the 69 million hectares (266,000 square miles) of native vegetation Brazil has lost in the past 30 years. The report was a joint project among various environmental groups, universities and startups. It found around 70 percent of the deforested area was on private land.
The satellite images confirmed that the indigenous peoples are slowing the destruction of the Amazon. The forest would certainly be much closer to the ‘tipping point’ at which it stops providing the ecological services our agriculture, industries and cities depend upon, without indigenous reservations.
It is the latest of numerous studies to show that protecting indigenous lands is one of the best ways to slow the destruction of native forests. These are vital resources in the race to curb climate change.
Indigenous reservations account for 13.9 percent of Brazil’s territory. It covers 109.7 million hectares of native vegetation which is nearly one-fourth of the country’s total.
An agribusiness ally who won election vowing not to allow “a single centimeter more” of indigenous reservations to be created, but they face increasing pressure under Bolsonaro. Average annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has increased by more than 75 percent from the previous decade, since the far-right president took office in 2019.