Climate Action

Deforestation rates in Amazon rainforest highest in a decade

New data finds deforestation rates in the Amazon rainforest are the highest they have been in a decade.

  • 27 November 2018
  • Rachel Cooper

New data finds deforestation rates in the Amazon rainforest are the highest they have been in a decade.

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon recorded an increase of 13.7 per cent between August 2017 and July 2018, according to data provided by the Government and issued by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

Despite preventative measures in this period, in the last year, Brazil lost a total area of 7,900 kilometres squared, representing over one billion trees.

Environmentalists have voiced concerns that this situation could get worse once president-elect and anti-environmentalist Jair Bolsonaro comes into power next year.

The Amazon is fundamental to maintaining the global climate balance and most of the Brazilian emissions of greenhouse gases come from the deforestation of forests, according to Greenpeace Brazil.

Romulo Batista, Amazon campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “This set of proposals benefits those who live to deforest the forest, grind land and steal the natural heritage of Brazilians. The consequences are now translated into the numbers of the destruction of the Amazon. In addition, it even jeopardizes the country's contribution to the Paris Agreement.”

Brazil’s Environment Minister, Edson Duarte, noted the presence of illegal logging as a reason for the increase in deforestation. As illegal deforestation is often associated with other crimes such as arms trafficking, drugs and animals, and slave labour, the Federal Police has filed 823 criminal proceedings in the period.

The news follows a report by Greenpeace which that found Mondelez, an international organisation responsible for Cadbury, has destroyed over 25,000 hectares of orangutan habitat from palm oil deforestation.

Photograph: © Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace