Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has risen by almost 22 per cent in one year, according to the latest estimate by Brazil’s national space research institute INPE.

This is the highest it has been in 15 years with almost 13,235 square kilometres of forest lost from August 2020 to July 2021. 14,286sq-kms were cleared in 2005-06. According to the INPE an area more than half the size of the city of Rio de Janeiro was cleared in the month of October alone.

Environment Minister Joaquim Leite admitted the figures represented “a challenge” and vowed to be “more forceful against environmental crimes,” as reported by the AFP.

Brazil is also one of the signatories of the international pledge to end deforestation by 2030 made at this year’s COP26. The government has said it has deployed more ground troops to combat illegal clearing of land. In fact, President Bolsonaro set an earlier target date – 2028- to eliminate illegal deforestation.

“To those who still insist on these environmental crimes, we warn that the Brazilian state will enter the Amazon with full force,” said the Minister of Justice and Public Security Anderson Torres as quoted by AFP.

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