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Zone of deforestation in the Amazon (illustration). AFP Photos / RAPHAEL ALVES

The latest official figures for deforestation indicate a 30% increase between August 2018 and July 2019 compared to the previous year. It is the largest area destroyed since 2008 in Brazil. But the fires during the month of August were not taken into account in the study.

of our correspondent in São Paulo,

This is still bad news for the Amazon, but experts believe the worst is yet to come. These figures are, of course, considerable: 10,000 km2 of forests were destroyed in one year. But these statistics produced by a system called the Prodes (Surveillance Project of the Deforestation of the Amazon by Satellite) stop precisely in July.

However, the uncontrolled wave of forest fires and the explosion of deforestation, which moved the entire planet this summer, occurred in August. The results of the month are therefore not taken into account by the data released this week and this is what makes specialists say that the figures can be much more impressive than those announced.

Read also: In Brazil, deforestation has increased by 93% since the beginning of the year

On the other hand, if we take a step back, these figures are much lower than those observed until 2005, when deforestation reached 20,000 km2 or more.

Wave interest of the Bolsonaro government for the study

In Brazil, on the one hand, environmentalists say it is not surprising, because the government of Jair Bolsonaro has weakened all the control organs of the destruction of the forest, and so the loggers, the breeders and the miners have the free way. Greenpeace explained, for example, that: " The Brazilian government has not presented any coherent policy for the protection of the forest and its peoples. On the contrary, he takes the side of environmental crime. "

Curiously, President Jair Bolsonaro, who had sparked the controversy around the Amazon in August and had even sparked a diplomatic crisis with France , did not speak on the issue. His Minister of the Environment has remained relatively vague. However, he summoned a meeting of state governors of the region on Wednesday to " adopt a different strategy ," he announced, without further details.

More agriculture in the Amazon

The Brazilian government does not protect the Amazon against the advance of agriculture on the lands occupied by the forest. On the contrary, the Bolsonaro government has just allowed the cultivation of sugar cane in the Amazon when it was banned for ten years. President Bolsonaro even signed a decree in early November to allow it again.

►To listen also: Today the economy - The fires in the Amazon question the activity of Brazilian agribusiness?

And then there is the question of soy. The big producers and soy tradings had been committed for several years to observe a " moratorium " in the Amazon. They were not going to sell or buy the soy produced in the area. But this policy is being challenged by the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture. Not very encouraging signs for the protection of the Amazon then.