This Photo Shows What's Happening in the Amazon

Deforestation in Q1 hits record
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 13, 2022 11:45 AM CDT
New Report on the Amazon Rainforest Holds Worrying Number
These images, acquired by Copernicus Sentinel-2 satellites on 23 March 2021 and 4 April 2022, provide evidence of newly deforested areas near Iber?, in the state of Mato Grosso in Brazil.   (European Union, Copernicus Sentinel-2 imagery)

The deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has been tracked since 2015 by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE). An INPE report out Friday says the numbers recorded in the first quarter of this year were the worst yet. CNN reports 363 square miles, an area just about the size of Dallas, was cleared in the January-to-March period. That's a 64% jump over the 221 square miles cleared in the same quarter of 2020. More:

  • Blame. CNN points a finger at President Jair Bolsonaro, who has eroded environmental protections since taking office in 2019; he has described such protections as a hindrance to economic growth. Reuters reports he is in favor of farming and mining in protected areas as a way of reducing poverty.
  • Worse numbers ahead? Al Jazeera reports Brazil is currently experiencing its rainy season, which generally sees less logging and land clearance by burning.

  • Worse numbers ahead II? Researchers tell Reuters it's likely authorities will reel in their enforcement of environmental laws in the run-up to Brazil's October election as they have in election-years past.
  • Go deeper. The Washington Post has a fascinating report by Terrence McCoy on Highway 319, which runs for more than 500 miles through the heart of Brazil's portion of the Amazon. More than 200 miles of its middle section remain unpaved and in rough condition—which has functioned as protection against deforestation. Bolsonaro and others are in favor of paving that middle part. Read the full story here.
(More Amazon rainforest stories.)

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