In November 2018, the Brazilian government announced that about 7900 square kilometers of the Amazon rainforest were cleared between August 2017 and July 2018. This record data is a reflection of an alarming deforestation that continues to develop : in the Amazon, it has has never been so important for 10 years. Especially since Jair Bolsonaro, just elected president of Brazil, is far from proposing solutions for the protection of the Amazon. On the contrary…
In the Amazon rainforest, deforestation is in the highest
Despite global mobilization and warnings from many NGOs including the OMPE, the forest continues to shrink around the world. In our record on the forest, we could see how forests play a crucial role on our planet. The Amazonian forest alone captures and stores the equivalent of 3740 kilograms of CO2 per second, or 118 billion tons of CO2 per year. The destruction of forests has an impact both in terms of biodiversity, increased CO2 emissions and natural disasters (floods, droughts…). While annual rates of deforestation in the Amazon have been declining for several years, deforestation is now at its highest level in 10 years : + 13.7% compared to last year, over the same period. Thus, it is the equivalent of one million football pitches that was razed in 1 year.
For the Brazilian government, it is illegal logging that is causing increasing deforestation in the Amazon. For most NGOs, the problem is the lack of a real policy and effective measures to prevent multinational logging companies from plundering the Amazon rainforest. The figures announced by Greenpeace are staggering : every year, 24.5 million m³ of illegal timber are extracted for sawing and processing. According to the Brazilian government, 60 to 80 percent of the Amazon’s timber is illegally cut ! Not to mention the role played by industrial agriculture (the world’s largest deforestation in the last 15 years), intensive soybean farming and cattle breeding, which remains the main cause of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.
A worrying future for the Amazon rainforest
The Amazon rainforest would have gone well with the election of Jair Bolsonaro as President of Brazil. Already nicknamed “the Trump of the Tropics”, he must take office on January 1, 2019, date from which he will control nearly 2/3 of the Amazon. But who is the new Brazilian president and what are his plans for the Amazon rainforest ?
Defender of the free market and economic liberalism, Jair Bolsonaro also wants to develop a policy of dismantling the Brazilian heritage including that of the Amazon rainforest. It plans to build a highway, open up rights to soybean and livestock farming, open the territories of indigenous communities to mining companies, or relax the laws protecting the environment. Indeed, Jair Bolsonaro has just given up hosting the COP25 in 2019. Can the Amazon rainforest survive in Bolsonaro ?