Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest Has Risen by 88 Percent in June 2019

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The Amazon Rainforest is currently shrinking at an unprecedented rate, losing more than two soccer fields each minute.

Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest Has Risen by 88 Percent in June 2019

Amauri Aguiar/ Flickr


The Amazon Rainforest is currently shrinking at an unprecedented rate, losing more than two soccer fields each minute. The amount of Amazon Rainforest lost in June 2019 — 920 square kilometers — was a staggering 88 percent more than the amount that was lost in June 2018, as Brazil’s space agency reports.


Environmentalists say that the change stems from pro-business and anti-environmental policies adopted by Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro. Since taking office in January 2019, Bolsonaro has made deforestation policies more lenient in Brazil, paving the way for more logging and development of previously protected areas.


Miners, loggers, and farmers encouraged by Bolsonaro's pro-business stances have rapidly adapted to the policy changes. The impact of cattle farmers has been particularly harmful on the Amazon, with the beef industry accounting for 80 percent of the forest’s reduction. Bolsonaro's policies that have lowered restrictions and reduced oversight across the Amazon encouraged people to seize control of a growing area of land within the rainforest.


The Amazon Rainforest covers a total area of 2.6 million squares and is spread across nine countries. Only Brazil houses over two-thirds of the rainforest. The planet's largest and most diverse rainforest, the Amazon is commonly referred to as the planet’s lungs. However, the part of the rainforest that lies in Brazil has lost over 18 percent of its rainforest in the past 40 years to illegal logging, soy plantations, and cattle ranching, as Greenpeace reports. The remaining area is under threat, as are its animals, plants, and people who depend on the forest to survive.


Greenpeace has called president Bolsonaro and his government a "threat to the climate equilibrium" and also said his policies could bear a "heavy cost" for the Brazilian economy.


In Brazil alone, the Amazon is home to 24 million people, including 180 different Indigenous groups. Deforestation is displacing many of those communities whose livelihoods depend on the rainforests. Also, the region is home to 40,000 species of plants, over 400 species of mammals, 1,300 varieties of birds, as well as millions of insects whose ecosystems and food chains are disrupted by deforestation.


The Amazon Basin annually absorbs 2.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide, helping to offset global emissions. Losing the rainforest means that less carbon dioxide will be absorbed; it will remain in the atmosphere instead, contributing to the growing issue of climate change.


Greenpeace forest strategist Paulo Adario thinks that deforestation rates might further worsen under president Bolsonaro, according to Al Jazeera. However, Adario hopes the revelation of the large numbers of lost rainforest area will put pressure on the government to take action.

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Thinking Humanity: Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest Has Risen by 88 Percent in June 2019
Deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest Has Risen by 88 Percent in June 2019
The Amazon Rainforest is currently shrinking at an unprecedented rate, losing more than two soccer fields each minute.
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