Official data showed on Friday that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon set a new quarterly record in the first three months of 2022 when it was compared to the previous year.
Satellite images revealed the destruction of 941 square kilometres of the Amazon Forest. It is the highest quarterly rate since the start of Brazil’s Deter monitoring program in 2015. This is an area about the size of Dallas.
Deforestation slowed by 15 percent year-on-year to 312 km2 for the month of March. This is according to data from the INPE Brazilian space agency. But this followed on two months of record highs under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro has pushed to open protected Amazonian lands to agribusiness and mining.
Bolsonaro entered office in 2019. Since then, Brazil’s average annual deforestation in the Amazon which is a crucial resource in the race to curb climate change, has risen more than 75 percent from the previous decade.
The destruction is driven mainly by farming and land speculation in agricultural powerhouse Brazil. This is world’s biggest exporter of beef and soy. Brazil hosts about 60 percent of the Amazon Forest.
Greenpeace Brazil spokeswoman Cristiane Mazzetti said in a statement that in recent years there was a setback in environmental policy and the result is seen with deforestation records for the first quarter of 2022 and in previous years. The new figures suggest Brazil may be on track to set a new yearly deforestation record in 2022.