Amazon deforestation drops under Lula, reversing trend during Bolsonaro reign
After years of rising chaos, deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon dropped by 33.6% during the first six months of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s term.
While the rainforest had alerts covering 4,000 sq km from January to June last year under former President Jair Bolsonaro, it’s 2,650 sq km in 2023.
“We reversed the curve [of growth]; deforestation isn’t increasing,” said Joãn Paulo Capobianco, the environment ministry’s executive secretary.
But It May Be Too Soon To Celebrate
The new government satellite data is an encouraging sign for Lula, whose last year’s election campaign included pledges to control illegal logging and undo environmental devastation.
Still, the full-year results will depend on a few challenging years ahead. Experts believe it may be too soon to celebrate the reversal in deforestation trend.
According to satellite monitoring, the rainforest encountered 3,075 fires in June alone, which marks the beginning of the dry season.
Thursday’s deforestation data came from Deter, a system managed by a federal agency. It is an initiative mainly focused on detecting real-time destruction.
Another system called Prodes is responsible for the most accurate deforestation calculations. But the results are released only annually.
Continued Shortages Of Enforcement Agents
Brazil is now prioritising environmental law enforcement, Jair Schmitt from Ibama, the country’s federal environmental agency, told The Associated Press.
But the task has been challenging owing to continued shortages of personnel, he added. A number of Ibama agents retired and Bolsonaro pretty much didn’t care to replace them.
Although the newly-elected president has committed to restoring the workforce, the number of enforcement agents in Ibama is still at its lowest in 24 years.