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Indigenous people march during a protest against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro

The Brazilian Amazon experiences a 64 percent increase in deforestation during the first three months of 2022, compared to a year ago.

Brazil set a new record for Amazon deforestation within the first three month of 2022, compared with one year ago, according government data. This is alarming and prompting warnings from environmentalists.

Data from Inpe, a national space agency, showed that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon increased 64 percent between January and March from a year earlier to 941sqkm (363sq mi)

This area is larger than New York City and has the highest amount of forest cover that was lost since 2015, when the data series began.

Since President Jair Bolsonaro’s election in 2019, the destruction of the world’s largest rainforest has risen. He also weakened environmental protections, arguing they prevent economic development that could lower poverty in the Amazon region.

Al Jazeeras Monica Yanakiew reported from Rio de Janeiro. She said that the new data is particularly worrying because Brazil is currently in its rainy season, a time when loggers don’t cut down trees and farmers don’t burn them to clear the land.

Yanakiew stated that there should also be less activity and less deforestation.

She explained that the figures were obtained because representatives from 100 Indigenous tribes are visiting Brasilia as part of their demands for more protection and to protest proposed laws that would allow government to further exploit the rainforest.

They protest to ensure that Congress doesn’t approve bills that the government has pushed to make it easier to exploit Amazon [rain]Forests can be used commercially. President Jair Bolsonaro wants to make this happen before he runs for reelection in October.

The Environment Ministry and the president’s office did not immediately respond when Reuters asked them for comment on Friday’s deforestation data.

This data showed that deforestation decreased by 15% for March, but it came after two months of record-setting highs.

Brazil is the world’s largest exporter and producer of beef and soy, and its agricultural powerhouse has largely driven the destruction. The country is home to about 60% of the Amazon rainforest.

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Raoni Rajao, a professor of Environmental Management at Federal University of Minas Gerais said that the situation is quite dire in Amazon.

We are at an all-time high and we are actually on it [seeing]Rajao said that the numbers are more likely to be seen mid-year, when the forest is drier.

Indigenous people march during a protest against Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro
March of Indigenous Peoples during a protest against Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro, and for land delineation in Brasilia on April 6, 2022 [Adriano Machado/Reuters]

He stated that deforestation and climate change have had a significant impact on Amazonia, even in areas far from human activity. Rajao stated that even in areas far from the agricultural frontier, the forest was beginning to dry up and become more susceptible to fires.

This is extremely concerning as it indicates that we could be approaching a tipping mark where irreversible forest damage might occur.

Monday’s report by the United Nations Climate Panel warned that governments are not doing enough in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prevent the worst effects from global warming.

According to the report, while most of the blame lies with fossil fuels, deforestation is responsible for around 10 percent global emissions.

Brazil is an example what the UN Climate Report is saying when it refers governments not taking necessary actions, said Cristiane Maszetti, a Brazilian forest campaigner for Greenpeace. We have a government which deliberately ignores the necessary steps needed to limit climate change.

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