In the past twelve months, more than 9,000 square kilometers of rainforest have been cleared in the Brazilian Amazon region, according to initial data. That is an increase of around 35 percent, as the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) reported, citing preliminary figures. The data refer to the period from August 2019 to July 2020. In the same period of 2018/19, according to Inpe, 6,844 square kilometers of rainforest were destroyed.
The current evaluation is a preliminary statistic that will now be examined further. The final figures should be available in November. Experience shows that this can lead to growth of around 30 percent. This would mean that the area deforested in the past twelve months would cover around 13,000 square kilometers - the highest figure since 2008.
The Inpe evaluates satellite images. With a quick survey, it studies changes in the forest in real time. Deforestation in Brazil is "clearly out of control", quoted the G1 portal Marcio Astrini, executive secretary of the Brazilian NGO Observatório do Clima.
The government of President Jair Bolsonaro doubts the institute's figures. At the same time, the president himself has come under fire in the past for the devastating fires in the Amazon region. Environmentalists accuse Bolsonaro of accepting the fires in order to open up new areas for agriculture.
Investors and companies are now increasingly concerned about Brazil's reputation, and criticism of Bolsonaro's environmental policy has come from at home and abroad. To reassure them, the government sent military to the Amazon in May. But so far the soldiers have hardly been able to do anything against deforestation and forest fires.