As Covid-19 Continues, Deforestation in the Amazon Soars

While the limelight is on in the Covid-1p epidemic, the forests in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest are quietly growing. The rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon in April 2020 was 4 percent higher than in April 2019, according to official data from the Brazilian National Aerospace Research Institute (INPE), which uses satellites to search for forests.  From January 1 to April 30, 2020, 1,222 square kilometers (444 square miles) of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon have been cut down, an increase of 55 percent over the same period last year, according to the INP’s deforestation monitoring system, DETER, according to Reuters.

The amount of deforestation is relatively consistent with the rate of deforestation recorded over the last few years. However, some are hoping that the Kovid-1p epidemic and the resulting global economic downturn could reduce deforestation. In reality, the opposite seems to have happened. Ongoing outbreaks in rural areas due to low levels of environmental agents and further economic problems have only exacerbated the problem of illegal land clearing.

André Guimarães, the head of Amazon Environmental Research Institute, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the conservation of the rainforest, told NBC News, “Government agencies are isolated, populations are isolated, good people are isolated – but there are no criminals, so they are taking advantage of this momentum to increase their activities.”

Between 1991 and 2003, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased somewhat rapidly. Although the rate of deforestation in the early 2000s is not close to record levels, the past few years have seen a resurgence of land clearing. Managed by increasing global demand for products such as beef, soy, and palm oil, deforestation has been done illegally to clear land for deforestation, mining, and rearing. Many environmentalists have clearly blamed President Jaycee Bolsonaro’s recently expanded forestry on the communal administration, whose “pro-business, pro-Brazil” policies have consistently weakened environmental protection and encouraged efforts to bring in illegal loggers, miners, and collaborators.

This week, Bolsonaro allowed the armed forces to enter the Amazon region to control fires and logging in preparation for the dry season, which will begin in June. Despite these measures, environmentalists doubt it will solve the larger problem at hand. Romulo Batista, the Greenpeace campaigner in Brazil, said in a statement, “Unfortunately, it looks like we can expect more record-breaking fires and deforestation for this year.”