Even without the full data for October, deforestation in the Amazon for the month was a record, up 37% from October 2019.
Around 758 km² of forest has been cut down in the last 23 days. This is shown by data from Deter, an INPE (National Institute for Space Research) program designed to help government agencies fight deforestation. Such data can also be used to monitor trends of increasing or decreasing deforestation.
The previous record for one month in October was 2016 with around 750 km² of destruction. However, Deter’s recent history doesn’t begin until 2015, making further comparisons impossible.
The increase occurs after months of high deforestation. July and August fell over 1,000 km² and September was not far from that mark. For example, the sum of the past four months (4,736 km²) already exceeds deforestation in 2011-2012 (4,571 km², recorded by Prodes, an INPE program that more accurately measures annual deforestation), the period from which it returned deforestation.
Despite the high numbers, General Hamilton Mourão, Vice President and Head of the Amazonas Council, pushed Inpe’s official update and celebrated percentage reductions in destruction compared to 2019 via social networks in recent months.
However, such a decline had occurred in the months (July, August and September) with the highest level of deforestation ever recorded in the biome.
Before this text was published, Mourão had not commented on the increase in deforestation on his social networks.
Deter’s data are updated weekly by Inpe and made available for consultation on the TerraBrasilis website.
The high rates of destruction in the forest have been on the ground since May, when the armed forces were present in the forest for Operation Green Brazil 2 to combat illegal environmental acts.
Even with the army deployed, neither the deforestation nor the fires show any signs of cooling. Despite a fire moratorium, burns in the Amazon region in October reached the second highest value in the last decade.
In view of the growing data on destruction, little is to be seen of the authorities’ concrete plans. The response to deforestation usually only comes in the form of criticizing critics and the information that suggests destruction.
Mourão recently promised to take ambassadors from countries that condemn Brazil’s environmental policy with him to see the Amazon. The trip should take place between the 4th and 6th of this week. According to a statement released by the Vice President’s advisor, “The aim is to show the national and international community that the Brazilian Amazon is preserved and that its environment is complex
and man does not allow a general understanding of the region “.
In practice, however, the initiative came after mounting international pressure on the continued and growing devastation of the Amazon under Bolsonaro and threats to boycott Brazilian products related to deforestation.
In September, eight European countries – Germany, Denmark, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, the United Kingdom and Belgium – sent a letter to Mourão saying that increasing deforestation is making it difficult to buy Brazilian products.
In the meantime, the Bolsonaro government’s Secom (Special Secretariat for Social Communications) began to publish a campaign on social networks addressing “interests that are not always clear about the conservation of the Amazon” and making statements out of context, Bolsonaro repeatedly attempts defend against data showing the increase in destruction.