Brazil’s national government reports a 34% drop in Amazon deforestation rates in the first half of this year, compared to 2022, under the new administration of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva.
Change in Administration: The decline in deforestation coincided with da Silva’s presidency, who pledged to protect the rainforest and reverse the earlier surge in deforestation.
* Da Silva took over from far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, whose policies included reducing environmental protections and encouraging agricultural and mining activities in the Amazon. Bolsonaro has since been barred from running for office until 2030 due to abuse of power.
* Bolsonaro’s tenure saw a rise in illegal deforestation, often for soybean farming and cattle grazing, resulting in a record high deforestation rate in 2021.
Efforts to Curb Deforestation: Government officials credit da Silva’s policies and increased enforcement for the drop in deforestation.
* João Paulo Capobianco, the secretary of deforestation control, acknowledged the success of the effort to reverse the deforestation growth curve.
* Environmental minister Marina Silva announced there would be no “complicity with criminality,” pointing to a rise in inspections and embargoes as key measures to control the deforestation.
By the numbers: Fines issued by the Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources have increased by 116% in the first half of this year, while embargoes on illegally deforested areas have grown by 111%.
* Despite the improvements, there were still over 1,000 square miles of forest cleared between January and June this year.
Ongoing Concerns: Despite encouraging figures, there is recognition that deforestation, while slowed, continues, with potential risks in the upcoming dry season.
* Officials have highlighted that deforestation hasn’t stopped entirely and flagged the risk of wildfires during the dry season that could further harm the rainforest.
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