ENVIRONMENT

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest surges to 12-year high

December 2, 2020 – Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest has surged to its highest level since 2008, according to data from the government’s space research agency (INPE), with destruction soaring since right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro took office in January 2019.

The world’s largest tropical rainforest lost 11,088 square km from August 2019 to July 2020, an increase of 9.5 percent from the previous 12-month period.

The Amazon is a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming. Scientists say it has suffered losses at an accelerated rate since Jair Bolsonaro took office and weakened environmental protections, according to the BBC.

The rainforest is home to about three million species of plants and animals, and one million indigenous people.

The latest data marked a major increase from the 7,536 square km announced by INPE in 2018 – the year before Mr Bolsonaro took office.

The new figures are preliminary, with the official statistics set to be released early next year, the BBC said.

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