The Amazon rainforest located in Brazil, South America is the largest in the world and has a huge expanse of land covered by lush green flora and unique fauna. It is sometimes referred to as the lung of the planet. However, deforestation has become a big menace and has resulted in massive dwindling of the forest cover at an alarming rate. In fact, the rate of deforestation recorded from August 2017 to July 2018 is the highest over the past 10 years, which has raised an eyebrow of the environmentalists around the world.
About 7900 sq km, was deforested in the above said period. The environment minister of Brazil, Edson Duarte, has said that these numbers are really damaging to the overall rainforest in the Amazon and the main reason can be attributed to the increase in the illegal logging that has been occurring extensively. The agendas of the recently elected president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro also raised concerns among various communities as he vowed to limit punishment and fines for damages done to the rainforest and keep the environmentalists at bay.
Another policy that could affect the rainforest vehemently is the merging of the agricultural and environmental sector of the Government. This could lead to further deforestation for farming. According to the Prodes, the satellite that tracks this data, major deforestation occurred in the region of Mato Grosso and Para. Since Mato Grosso has the highest production of rice in Brazil and agricultural benefits could convince the government to dedicate more space for it, leading to more trees being cut down.
Mr. Duarte believes that there has been an increase in organized crime in Brazil recently, which has stimulated this massive deforestation and government should take more strict measures against these problematic entities and ensure the preservation of the Amazon.
Though the rate of deforestation has increased more last year, it is still less than the 74% destruction that took place in 2004, with rainforests of the size of Haiti, lost in a few years. This bears further testimony to the fact that Brazil was on the right path, but somehow got derailed in the past year. This situation demands immediate and appropriate steps to preserve the massive flora and fauna of the Amazon rainforest.