This is finally good news for one of the most important forests in the world. Deforestation in the Brazilian part of the Amazon forest fell by 33.6% between January and June 2023 compared to the same period last year, according to official data published Thursday, July 6.
The fight against the exploitation of the Amazon rainforest is one of the main objectives of the government of Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who became president of Brazil on 1 January. Satellite images from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) reported 2,649 km2 deforested in the first half of the year, compared to 3,988 km2 between January and June 2022.
At that time, far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro, much criticized for his management of the Amazon, was still in power. "We are arriving at a trend of constant fall in deforestation in the Amazon," Environment Minister Marina Silva told a news conference on Thursday.
According to her, these results are the fruit of "President Lula's decision to make the fight against climate change and deforestation a government policy". In June alone, deforestation plunged by 41% compared to 2022.
End illegal deforestation by 2030
Since his re-election, Lula has promised to undo the environmental policies of his predecessor, and to end illegal deforestation by 2030. Under the mandate of Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022), deforestation in the Amazon had jumped by 75% compared to the average of the past decade.
In June, Lula revealed his action plan in this area, including the immediate seizure of half of the illegally exploited areas within protected areas, the creation of an additional three million hectares of these preserved areas by 2027, as well as thousands of hiring specialists in the subject.
This announcement followed a decision by parliamentarians to significantly limit the portfolio of the Ministry of Environment, removing its responsibilities for water resources management and the cadastre of rural lands.
To achieve his goals, Lula regularly tries to convince the richest countries to finance the preservation of the forest. Norway and Germany have already contributed to the Amazon Fund established for this purpose.
The environment is at the heart of negotiations between Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Venezuela) and the EU, which recently urged South American countries to be more demanding in the fight against environmental crimes, before they can finalize a bilateral free trade agreement.
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