Space agency chief fired after revealing recent Amazon deforestation

Author: No Comments Share:
The amazon

Deforestation in the Amazon is increasing

CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images

Brazil’s controversial president Jair Bolsonaro has fired the director of the Brazilian space agency INPE, which monitors deforestation in the Amazon. The agency recently revealed the extent to which deforestation has increased since Bolsonaro took power in January, which the president took exception to.

More than 3700 square kilometres of forest have been cut down so far this year, according to INPE. That is more than during the same period in 2016, the year with the highest losses in the past decade.

Bolsonaro recently claimed that the INPE figures are a “lie” and were released to harm Brazil’s reputation. But researchers say the INPE’s deforestation data is respected and trusted. Organisations in other countries that monitor deforestation via satellites have also reported big increases.

Advertisement

The president’s claims led to robust responses from INPE director Ricardo Magnus Osorio Galvao, who called Bolsonaro’s attack “cowardly” and said he would not step down. On 2 August Galvao was sacked.

Brazil still has laws meant to reduce deforestation but they are not being enforced as much as they were. The number of enforcement operations in the Amazon region has fallen 70 per cent this year, according environmentalist Carlos Rittl of the Climate Observatory.

The forest is mainly being cleared for cattle ranching, to produce beef. Environmentalists have criticised a recent trade deal between the European Union and several South American countries including Brazil, saying it will boost exports and encourage more deforestation. The deal has not yet been ratified.

The rate of forest loss in the Amazon is still much lower than it was in the early 2000s, when tens of thousands of square kilometres were lost each year. But some researchers fear that forest loss is becoming so extensive it could reach a tipping point at which the remaining forest dies off. Deforestation raises local temperatures and reduces rainfall, in addition to the changes caused by global warming.

More on these topics:

New Scientist – Home

Previous Article

Mauritania: Freed Blogger Arrives in Europe – Amnesty

Next Article

Putin holds USA completely responsible for INF Treaty demise

You may also like

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com