Brazil’s Amazon rainforest deforestation increased for the third straight month in May, and President Jail Bolsonaro has not yet fulfilled his April commitment to increase funding for environmental enforcement.
According to the National Institute for Space Research’s Impe, deforestation in May surged 67% from the same month last year, leaving much of the land subject to ranches, farms and logging.
During the first five months of the year, data show that deforestation increased by 25% year-on-year, destroying 2548 square kilometers. This is more than three times the area of New York City.
Deforestation peaks during the dry season, May-October, when illegal loggingers have access to the forest.
At the Earth Day Summit in April, Bolsonaro promised to double the funding for environmental enforcement.
The next day, he signed a federal budget for 2021 to reduce environmental spending.
Environment Minister Ricardo Salles immediately submitted a proposal to the Ministry of Economy to increase environmental spending, but the request was not answered for more than a month.
Bolsonaro’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
The administration of US President Joe Biden has negotiated with Brazil on potential funding efforts to protect the Amazon, but authorities do not expect immediate action.
“Unfortunately, the Bolsonaro administration has rolled back some of its environmental enforcement,” US climate envoy John Kerry said at a parliamentary hearing last month.
“We had this conversation. They say they are now promising to raise their budget.
“If we don’t talk to them, you are guaranteed that the forest will disappear.”
Bolsonaro’s strategy to protect the Amazon has relied heavily on expensive military deployments that first began in late 2019.
The government withdrew its troops at the end of April because it was unable to bring deforestation back to pre-Bolsonaro levels.
Brazil’s Amazon deforestation
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