A staggering amount of Amazon rainforest disappeared in January 2022

Aerial view showing smoke rising from an illegal fire in the Amazon rainforest in Labrea, Amazonas state, Brazil, September 15, 2021.

Aerial view showing smoke rising from an illegal fire in the Amazon rainforest in Labrea, Amazonas state, Brazil, September 15, 2021.
Photo: MAURO PIMENTEL/AFP (Getty Images)

The number of felled trees in the Brazilian part of the Amazon rainforest in January was five times bigger than the same period last year, according to by satelliteimagery data from brazil srhythm research agency, INPE.

“The government, in fact, has created a golden opportunity for those who want to illegally clear forests or grab public land; there is a deliberate lack of environmental inspection and many of those behind this wave of illegal deforestation also expect Brazil’s Congress to pass legislation that will reward land grabbing, a practice linked to at least a third of all deforestation in the Amazon,” said Cristiane Mazzetti, spokesperson for Greenpeace Brazil, in one declaration.

Rainforest destruction hurts many people species that inhabit the complex ecosystem. Ddeforestation has also potentially transformed both carbon-sequestration of the forest in a carbon emitter.

The Amazon rainforest has been attacked for years—lumberjacks, Forest fires, livestock, and more. Large sections of destruction have been recorded since 2015, but the plight of the forest has worsened under the right-the wing of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, which took office in 2019. According to Greenpeace, the destruction has increased rapidly over the Bolsonaro’s tenure.

In 2020 alone, the Brazilian Amazon lost more than 3 million acres, which is an area roughly the size of Connecticut. In 2021, there was a glimmer of hope that Bolsonaro would take steps to protect the rainforest after he pledged to double government spending to reduce deforestation in the Amazon. He then changed his mind and cut the budget by more than 20% shortly after its announcement.

Given Bolsonaro’s dismal environmental justice record (and many other justice categories), it is likely that the rest of 2022 will be see more deforestation in the Amazon.

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