Brazil reports a 22.3% decline in Amazon deforestation, the lowest since 2018, marking a significant environmental turnaround.
In a significant environmental achievement, Brazil has reported a 22.3% reduction in Amazon deforestation, the lowest rate since 2018. This development is a key fulfillment of President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's commitment to combat the rampant deforestation that escalated under his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro.
Government data released on Thursday revealed that approximately 9,001 square kilometers (about 3,475 square miles) of the Amazon jungle were cleared in the 12 months leading up to July. This figure, derived from the Brazilian space research agency Inpe, shows a notable decrease from the 11,568 square kilometers deforested in the previous year.
However, despite this progress, the current deforestation rate is nearly double the record low seen in 2012. It also falls short of President Lula's ambitious target of achieving zero deforestation by 2030. Lula, who took office earlier this year, has made halting Amazon deforestation a cornerstone of his environmental policy and international reputation. This commitment led to increased enforcement of environmental laws following four years of escalated destruction under Bolsonaro, who diminished the power of environmental agencies.
Under Bolsonaro's right-wing administration, deforestation reached a 15-year peak, driven largely by ranching, land speculation, and mining activities. The recent decrease signals a significant policy shift under Lula's government.
The annual deforestation figures are part of the Inpe's PRODES satellite monitoring program, recognized for its accuracy compared to the weekly data provided by the DETER alert system. The official annual measurement period, spanning from August to July, is chosen to minimize cloud cover interference in satellite imagery, thereby ensuring more precise deforestation tracking.
This latest data represents a critical turnaround in Brazil's environmental policy and a hopeful sign for the future of the Amazon rainforest, a key battleground in the global effort to address climate change.
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