Story at a glance
- In the first four months of this year, deforestation in Brazil totaled more than 446 square miles.
- Amazon deforestation has spiked since Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019.
- The president has weakened environmental enforcement and pushed for more mining and farming in the country.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon saw a sharp increase in April compared with the same month last year, according to The Associated Press.
Preliminary data from Brazil’s national space research agency INPE released Friday shows deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest increased 43 percent in April compared with the same time last year. About 224 square miles of land were cleared last month alone, the highest figure for April in at least five years.
In the first four months of this year, deforestation in Brazil totaled more than 446 square miles, a 4-percent decrease from 2020, according to Reuters.
The Brazilian government has been widely criticized by conservation groups as a negligent steward of the Amazon rainforest. Amazon deforestation has spiked since Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019. The president has weakened environmental enforcement and pushed for more mining and farming in the country.
Government data shows deforestation hit a 12-year high in 2020.
Brazil is facing increasing pressure from the U.S. and others to curb destruction of the world’s largest tropical rainforest amid international efforts to rein in the fallout from climate change. The Biden administration is in talks to possibly fund conservation efforts in the country.
During a virtual climate summit hosted by the White House last month, Bolsonaro vowed to eliminate illegal deforestation in the country over the next decade and promised to bolster the country’s environmental enforcement agencies, despite prior efforts to weaken enforcement over the course of his presidency.
Bolsonaro also said Brazil would become carbon neutral by 2050, a goal that puts the country in line with commitments made by many developed nations.
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