Various studies have pointed out that the Amazon has lost at least 17 per cent of its forest in the last five decades.
Deforestation of the Amazon rainforest hit a new record in the first six months of this year, Brazil’s space agency Inpe reported on Friday. This has deepened concerns among the environmentalists that the damage sustained by the rainforest, which plays a crucial role in maintain the planet’s oxygen and carbon dioxide cycles, is irreparable. The satellite data shows that the Amazon rainforest has lost an area five times the size of New York City. This is the highest figure since 2016, the Brazil government said.
Satellite data showed that from January to June this year, 3,988 square km were cleared in the region. That’s an increase of 10.6% from the same months last year and the highest level for that period since the agency began compiling its current DETER-B data series in mid-2015.
Last year, 3,088 square kilometres of the rainforest were destroyed during the same period.
In June alone, destruction rose 5.5 per cent to 1,120 square km, also a record for that month of the year.
The Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, contains vast amounts of carbon (that is why it is called “carbon sink”), which is released as trees are destroyed, warming the atmosphere and driving climate change.
In the last few decades, the existence of the rainforest has come under intense threat as the land is cleared and converted, largely for cattle ranching and farming. Various studies have pointed out that the Amazon has lost at least 17 per cent of its forest in the last five decades.
Some environmentalists also slam Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro claiming that he is doing very little to stop the deforestation of such an important part of Earth’s atmosphere. They say Mr Bolsonaro has rolled back environmental protections emboldening loggers, ranchers and land speculators who clear public land for profit.
The report further said that deforestation is creeping deeper into the forest. In the first six months of the year, Amazonas state in the heart of the rainforest recorded more destruction than any other state for the first time.