Government data from last month revealed on Friday that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest harmed the largest area for a September since records have been kept, while fires in the area reached their highest level in more than a decade.
In the Amazon, 1,455 square kilometres (562 square miles) were cleared this month, breaking the previous record set in September 2019 in a data series that started in 2015. This is according to satellite data from the Brazilian space research organisation INPE.
The region’s deforestation reached a record high for the first nine months of the year, according to preliminary data released on Friday. From January to September, 8,590 square kilometres of forest were cleared, an area 11 times the size of New York City and a 22.6% increase over the same period in 2017.
According to annual statistics made public the previous year, deforestation had already reached a 15-year high under President Jair Bolsonaro.Experts hold the far-right leader, who is running for re-election, responsible for weakening environmental safeguards and allowing ranchers and loggers to further unlawfully clear more of the Amazon.
The Justice Ministry responded that it has been running a police operation since last year to combat unlawful logging and forest fires and to safeguard indigenous lands after Bolsonaro’s office submitted a Reuters request for comment to the ministry.