Deforestation in Brazil’s share of the earth’s biggest rainforest was at a six-year low in July and down 66 percent for the same period in 2022, according to preliminary government figures, reports Reuters.
Brazil’s space research agency INPE found that 500 square kilometres of the country’s rainforest were cleared in July, which usually marks the onset of the clearance season.
Preliminary satellite data from INPE showed a cumulative 42.5 percent drop across the first seven months of the year.
The Amazon acts as a vital carbon sink for the world and its deforestation accelerates climate change.
When Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office in January this year, he pledged to end deforestation in the Amazon by 2030. Deforestation had surged under his predecessor, Jair Bolsanaro, who promoted mining in the Amazon and shrank down the country’s forest protection schemes.
Brazilian authorities hope the latest numbers will strengthen their case for the effectiveness of Lula’s approach. His government has enforced strong and swift penalties for infractions while increasing efforts to demarcate more land for indigenous peoples and conservation.
Sixty percent of the Amazon rainforest is located within Brazil’s borders, while the rest stretches across Columbia, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana and Suriname. These eight rainforest nations will gather this week in Brazil for an Amazon summit designed to strengthen regional cooperation.
Brazil’s environmental minister Marina Silva has proposed that each country produce an action plan for rainforest protection and share best-practice methods used to achieve goals. She also pushed for the formation of a scientific panel that would keep the governments up to speed with the latest data.