During the month of April, deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest hit record levels, nearly double the area for the same period last year.
Within the first 29 days of April, deforestation totaled 390 square miles, according to the national space research agency Inpe. An increase of 69% compared to the same period of 2021, clearing an area more than double the size of New York City.
April is the third record this year after new highs were observed during the months of January and February.
Deforestation has accelerated in the Amazon ever since the right-wing president took office. Marcio Astrini, the head of Climate Observatory, stated, “The cause of this record has a first and last name: Jair Messias Bolsonaro,”
Ever since coming to office, Bolsonaro has been merciless in removing protections. He intervened with an operation by Instituto Brasileiro do Meio Ambiente; an operation to block loggers from cutting more trees.
He argues that more farming and mining will help reduce poverty, but this will worsen the state of the climate. In reality, this destroys one of the world’s richest areas of biodiversity as well as an enormous carbon sink that plays a key role in fighting against climate change.
With nearly a fifth of the forest already gone, scientists believe that the “tipping point” of the forest will be reached at around 20% deforestation. At this rate, 27 percent of the Amazon’s trees will be gone by 2030. Bolsonaro’s policies not only affect the environment, but also invades indigenous lands and national parks. Indigenous lands make up 23% of the Amazon and are a bulwark against deforestation.
A tribe that lives in the Amazon rainforest believes that they are one with the forest and its fate. The tribe leader dreams of seeing her grandchildren have children in their land. Katicá Karipuna, the matriarch of the Karipuna tribe, fears that their land will be taken from them by force, stating, “We had a lot of land and we lived peacefully, now we live with fear. There are very few of us and the invaders are coming closer.”