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Deforestation in Brazil is down by more than a third so far this year

But huge challenges remain if President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is to fulfil his goal of ending deforestation by 2023.

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But huge challenges remain if President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is to fulfil his goal of ending deforestation by 2023.

ARTICLE BY

PUBLISHED

READING TIME

Less than 1 minute Minutes

UPDATED: 21 Dec 2023, 11:30 pm

Brazil lost 2,649 square kilometres of Amazon rainforest between January and June this year, down from 3,988 square kilometres during the same period last year, according to official government figures cited in multiple media reports

The reduction of nearly 34 percent corresponds to the first six months of the terms of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who vowed to get tough on loggers. By contrast, his predecessor, President Jair Bolsonaro, encouraged clearing for agriculture and mining, saying it would alleviate rural poverty.

Lula, as the country’s president is popularly known, says he will put a stop to forest clearance by the end of the decade. But he faces an uphill battle, with the area of forest lost this year alone still more than 75 times the size of Macao.

[See more: More than 20,500 kilometres of forest were lost in Brazil last year]

Marina Silva, Brazil’s environment minister, nevertheless told the media confidently last week that Brazil had “reached a steady downward trend in deforestation of the Amazon.” 

The Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest, with more than half of it lying in Brazil. The sheer number of carbon dioxide-absorbing trees it contains means it plays a crucial role in the fight against climate change.

A report by Global Forest Watch in April claimed that the equivalent of 11 football pitches of forest were lost every minute last year, with Brazil responsible for most of the felling.

 

UPDATED: 21 Dec 2023, 11:30 pm

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