- Title: Dual onslaught of increased deforestation and fires threatens Amazon this year
- Date: 3rd July 2020
- Summary: RONDONIA, BRAZIL (FILE) (REUTERS) AERIAL VIEW OF FOREST FIRES SEEN BURNING IN JUNGLE
- Embargoed: 17th July 2020 18:11
- Keywords: Amazon Brazil agriculture cultivation deforestation destruction fires jungle land loss rainforest
- Location: RONDONIA, SAO PAULO & MANAUS, BRAZIL
- City: RONDONIA, SAO PAULO & MANAUS, BRAZIL
- Country: Brazil
- Topics: Environment
- Reuters ID: LVA001CL9BGAV
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Brazilian environmentalists say much more needs to be done to combat the dual threat of deforestation and fires that threaten what some have called the planet's lungs: the Amazon rainforest.
In June, Brazil's government space research agency, INPE, detected 2,248 fires in the Amazon rainforest, up from 1,880 in June 2019.
June 2020 averaged roughly 75 fires per day in the Amazon, compared with an average of nearly 1,000 blazes a day when fires peaked in August 2019.
A more worrying indicator is rising deforestation, because fires are usually set to clear the land after trees have been cut down.
Deforestation is up 34% in the first five months of the year, from a year ago, preliminary INPE data shows.
Environmentalists have said weaker environmental enforcement under right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro is to blame for rising destruction. Bolsonaro has called for more farming and mining in protected areas of the Amazon, while defending the country for still preserving the majority of the rainforest.
Bolsonaro deployed the armed forces to protect the Amazon in May, as he did in August last year. Despite that initiative, deforestation rose 12% in May from a year earlier and increased in June.
The Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM), a Brazilian non-governmental organization, predicts that at the current pace of deforestation, there will be around 9,000 square kilometers (3,475 square miles) of Amazon by the end of July that have been cut down but not burned since the beginning of 2019, when Bolsonaro assumed office.
The areas at risk of being set ablaze compare with 5,539 square kilometers deforested and burned from January 2019 to April 2020, IPAM said in its analysis earlier this month.
Meanwhile, communities in the Amazon are bracing for the smoke that sweeps over the region during the fire season, which is generally at its height from August to November.
(Production: Sebastian Rocandio, Leandra Camera, Patrick Alwine)
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