Arafat Hasan of DOT : Official data in Brazil stated that the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest has hit its highest rate in a decade. Between August 2017 and July 2018, about 7,900 sq km (3,050 sq miles) of the world’s largest rainforest was destroyed – an area roughly five times the size of London.
Brazil’s Environment Minister Edson Duarte has blamed illegal logging.
The figures come amid concerns about the policies of Brazil’s newly elected president, Jair Bolsonaro. During the 2018 election campaign, Bolsonaro pledged to limit fines for damaging forestry and to weaken the influence of the environmental agency.
An aide for the president-elect has also announced the administration will merge the agriculture and environment ministries, which critics say could endanger the rainforest.
The latest government data says most of the deforestation occurred in the states of Mato Grosso and Pará, and marked a 13.7% rise over last year’s figures.
Mato Grosso is the top producer of grains in Brazil, and critics say expanding agriculture is also encroaching on the rainforest.
Meanwhile, Duarte blamed “an upsurge in organized crime” for the illegal deforestation, and said the country must broaden the fight against “environmental violations and in defense of sustainable development of the biome”.