Deforestation in the Amazon divided by three in July

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon was almost three times lower last month than in July 2022, according to official data released Thursday by the Lula government.

This drop is all the more significant since the month of July, at the heart of the dry season, is usually one of the worst months of the year in terms of the destruction of the largest tropical forest on the planet.

Satellite data from the Deter system of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) reports 500 km2 deforested in the Amazon, the lowest since 2017. A drop of 66% compared to the 1,487 km2 of July 2022, the last year of presidency of far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro.

His left-wing successor Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who had already governed the country from 2003 to 2010, began his third term in January by promising to make the preservation of the Amazon a priority and to do everything possible to eradicate the illegal deforestation by 2030.

“We have entered a virtuous circle, those who commit environmental crimes are no longer certain of going unpunished, from which they try twice before taking action,” said Thursday at a conference. release the Minister of the Environment Marina Silva.

If we take into account the first seven months of the Lula government, deforestation has fallen by 42.5% compared to the same period last year, under the Bolsonaro presidency. And over the reference period from August to July, favored by specialists for a one-year analysis starting at the pivotal moment of the dry season, the drop is 7% compared to the previous 12 months.

These data were made public a week before a summit bringing together in Belem, in northern Brazil, representatives of the eight member countries of the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (OTCA).

“The fall in deforestation in the Amazon in July is an important sign that the situation is regaining control,” said Mariana Napolitano, from the Brazilian office of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), in a press release.

On the other hand, the figures are much more worrying for the Cerrado, the tropical savannah very rich in biodiversity located in the south of the Amazon. With 612 km2 deforested last month, the increase is 26% compared to July 2022.

Some specialists fear that the concentration of efforts on the Amazon will have the effect of transferring environmental crimes to the Cerrado, where deforestation over the past 12 months has reached 6,359 km2, the highest since 2017.

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