Brazil: Deforestation in protected areas up 79% under Bolsonaro
A report by the Socioenvironmental Institute (ISA) released Wednesday has shown a 138% increase in degradation in indigenous lands and 130% in Conservation Units, (CUs) compared to three years before President Jair Bolsonaro took office.
The document, based on Prodes satellite imagery, found that deforestation in areas which should have been protected by the Government increased 79% under Bolsonaro, compared to data from 2016 to 2018.
The ISA experts analyzed deforestation between 2019 and 2021 in all Conservation Units (CUs), under protection from either the federal administration or that of the states, and in indigenous lands in the states of Amazonas, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Amapá, Tocantins , Mato Grosso, Maranhão and Acre.
In the last three years, the 334 federal CUs lost 130% larger forest areas than in the previous three years, due to the high levels of invasions and illegal exploitation of natural resources. In 14 of these units – ten of them in the state of Pará – the loss of vegetation was over 90%, the scientists explained.
The most affected area, with a 54% increase in the deforestation rate compared to 2020, was the Jamanxim National Forest, also in Pará. In CUs under state care, deforestation rose 50%. And in indigenous territories, data from the last three years yielded a 138% rise in deforestation, even with a drop of 18.6% recorded in 2020 and 2021. Of the 268 indigenous lands under study, 20 of them registered 80% degradation, while almost half of all forest loss was concentrated in the Xingu River basin, according to ISA.
The ISA analysis was carried out using data from the Project for Monitoring Deforestation in the Legal Amazon by Satellite (Prodes), from the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe).
According to an ISA statement, there were severe forest losses over the last three years in Indigenous Lands and Conservation Units — protected areas that are essential for the protection of Brazilian socio-biodiversity. ISA researchers also recalled Bolsonaro’s attempt to scrap Inpe, in order to prevent the collection of specific data on deforestation and environmental degradation in the Amazon.
It is not by chance, while encouraging the passage of the ‘herd’ through the largest tropical forest in the world, the president actively worked for the scrapping of the agency and also of the entire set of socio-environmental policies and bodies — essential for the preservation of the region, the scientists wrote.
Brazilian legislation establishes that the State must guarantee the inviolability of the Forest Environmental Conservation Units.
Antonio Oviedo, coordinator of the Socioenvironmental Institute report, pointed out that the government dismantled the Amazon protection policies through a series of measures such as the lack of supervision and the elimination of fines charged to those who commit environmental crimes.