Amazon deforestation alerts hit new records
As scientists urge action, satellite monitoring registers highest deforestation rate for the month of February
by Katie Nelson
March 11, 2022
DETER data shows massive increase for deforestation in February
Manaus, Brazil – Deforestation alerts for the month of February cover 199 km² of the Amazon. This is a 62 percent increase compared to the same month last year and is the highest deforestation rate ever recorded for the month of February since DETER was established in 2016. The data came out days after a landmark study from the University of Exeter (UK) concluded that the Amazon rainforest is approaching a tipping point in which it will fail as an ecosystem. Adding to the increasing trend in deforestation, new figures showed Amazon deforestation alerts to be five times those recorded in January 2021.
In response, Romulo Batista, spokesperson for Greenpeace Brazil, said:
“Agribusiness, land grabbers, and the Bolsonaro government are trying to use all the influence they have in the Brazilian Congress to rush through dangerous laws that will dramatically increase deforestation in the immediate future. These direct attacks to the Amazon pose an existential threat to the rainforest and to the global climate.”
For months now, the agribusiness-dominated Brazilian Congress has been expediting laws that will end environmental licensing requirements, reduce the size of Indigenous territories, and reward land grabbing – a practice linked to one-third of Amazon deforestation. On March 9, Bolsonaro’s allies in the Congress approved the use of emergency measures to consider opening Indigenous Peoples’ lands for mining. This approval occurred under the guise that the Ukraine crisis would jeopardize Brazil’s access to potash, a fertilizer imported from Eastern Europe. Mining in Indigenous Peoples’ lands is currently forbidden under the Brazilian Constitution. The integrity of Indigenous Peoples’ lands have been found to be the most effective solution for lasting forest conservation.
The deforestation alerts in the first two months of the year have been a record high – covering an area of 629 km², more than triple the area observed for the same period last year, 206 km². This comes during a time when deforestation is usually lower due to the Amazon’s rainy season.
Katie Nelson, Senior Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (678) 644-1681, [email protected]