The government reports that in the first six months of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's tenure, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon decreased by 33.6% compared to the same period in 2022.
Under President Bolsonaro, the rainforest shrunk by 2,649 square kilometers from January to June of this year, compared to 3,988 square kilometers during the same period last year. The released satellite data from the government has not been independently verified. Lula has committed to eliminate deforestation by 2030.
The area of rainforest still alleged to have been lost under his rule is greater than three times the size of New York City, presenting him with a formidable obstacle to achieving this objective. Recent years have witnessed an alarming increase in deforestation. The Amazon rainforest is a crucial buffer in the struggle against climate change on a global scale.
Thursday, the Brazilian National Institute of Space Research (Inpe) presented new satellite data. The deforestation of the Amazon has attained a steady decline, Environment Minister Marina Silva told reporters. Inpe identified June as the month in which forest eradication decreased by a record 41% compared to the same period last year. Lula, who was inaugurated in January, has pledged to reverse the policies of his far-right predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro, who promoted mining on Amazonian indigenous lands.
In the beginning of this year, President Lula declared the creation of six new indigenous reserves and placed restrictions on commercial farming and mining in those areas. Indigenous elders expressed their satisfaction with the decision, but emphasized that additional land should be preserved. And while it was reported that the rate of deforestation had decreased, the figures showed that the number of fires had increased.
Satellite monitoring identified 3,075 fires in the Amazon region during the month of June alone; this is the highest monthly total since 2007. Many of the fires, which have been related to the clearance of previously deforested areas, have been responsible for the release of huge volumes of carbon dioxide.
Lula, who once served as Brazil's president from 2003-2010, has also been advocating for the world's wealthiest countries to pay for a variety of conservation efforts focused on the Amazon rainforest. A study published in April by the Global Forest Watch surveillance network revealed that an area of tropical forest the size of Switzerland was lost globally as a result of the increased rate of tree clearing in the preceding year.
It was reported that almost 11 football pitches worth of forest were destroyed per minute in the year 2022, with Brazil being the country that contributed the most to the damage. It gave the impression that a political promise made by world leaders to cease deforestation at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow in 2021 was a long way off from being fulfilled.
The Amazon is the largest rainforest on Earth, and Brazil is home to around sixty percent of its total area. It is sometimes referred to as "the lungs of the planet" because of the vast amount of trees that grow there. This is because trees are able to take in carbon dioxide and exhale oxygen.