In 2021, the Amazon lost an average of eighteen trees per second. According to an independent study, released Monday, July 18, deforestation in all ecosystems in Brazil increased last year by 20.1%.
“Brazil lost 16,557 square kilometers of original vegetation cover across all of its ecosystems last year,” down from 13,789 square kilometers in 2020, reports collaborative platform MapBiomas, which compiles data from various mapping systems by satellite.
Most of this deforestation (59%) took place in the Amazon. Then come the Cerrado, the Brazilian savannah (30.2%), the Caatinga, semi-arid zone of the Northeast (7%), then the Atlantic forest or “Mata atlantica” (1.8%) and the Pantanal (1. 7%). “In the Amazon alone, 111.6 hectares have been deforested every hour, or 1.9 hectares per minute, which equates to nearly 18 trees per second,” says MapBiomas, which brings together NGOs, universities and businesses. technologies.
Jair Bolsonaro accused of encouraging deforestation
Agriculture and animal husbandry remain the main “pressure vectors” of deforestation, for which they are responsible for 97%. In the state of Para (North), clandestine mines also exert strong pressure, according to the study.
Since 2019, when far-right President Jair Bolsonaro came to power, deforestation in all ecosystems has reached 42,000 square kilometers, “almost the area of the state of Rio de Janeiro”, according to the same source. . Environmental advocates and the opposition accuse the Bolsonaro government of encouraging deforestation by defending the exploitation of the Amazon and weakening environmental watchdogs.
According to official data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), between January and June 2022, the Brazilian part of the Amazon (60%) lost 3,988 square kilometers of forested area, a record for a first semester since 2016, date of the first readings of the real-time deforestation detection system (Deter).
Official figures also show that since President Bolsonaro came to power, average annual deforestation in the Amazon has increased by 75% compared to the previous decade.