Deforestation in Amazon rainforest reaches highest level in a decade
File photo from trees felled in the Amazon rainforest (Brazil). EPA- EPA-EFE/Marcelo Sayão/File
Sao Paulo, Nov 18 (EFE).- The Amazon rainforest in Brazil lost 9,762 sq. kilometers (3,769 sq. miles) of its area between August 2018 and July 2019, the highest degree of deforestation since 2008, the government reported this Monday.
The deforestation rate between August 2018 and July 2019 was 29.5 percent higher than in the same period of the previous year, according to official data of the state-operated National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
The methodology behind this finding is known as Prodes and is based on INPE satellite images.
The data released coincide with INPE's own alert system, known as Deter, which has spotted the vast deforested Amazon area.
The Deter data was publicly questioned last July by Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro and led to the INPE president's ouster.
The Brazilian president considered the data released by the state agency as false and, in his opinion, were releasd in bad faith by government officials whose political interests were in line with harming both Brazil and its government.
The relentless clear-cutting of the Amazon rainforest has coincided with the growing number and size of wildfires in the region, especially last August - the worst in the past decade - a fact for which Brazil has been roundly criticized by environmentalists and world leaders.
The increased destruction of trees in the Amazon is attributed by ecologists to the anti-environmentalist rhetoric of Bolsonaro, who went so far as to propose relaxing the measurement of the forested area and legalizing mining on indigenous reservations.
According to his critics, loggers who feel protected by Bolsonaro's speeches pushing development have increased their felling of woodland trees while farmers have expanded their crops in the region.
As the clear-cutting gets worse, some companies have begun to boycott Brazilian products and threaten to suspend their imports from Brazil.
France and Ireland have conditioned their willingness to ratify the free trade accord between Mercosur and the European Union on Bolsonaro's willingness to respect the environmental commitments Brazil took on when it signed the Paris Agreement.