A record amount of forest land destroyed in the Amazon
The COP26 climate conference has ended in Glasgow, Scotland. At the conference, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro pledged to protect forests and the environment and announced his ambitious goals and plans. But it turned out that a record amount of forest land got destroyed in the Amazon last October 2021.
More than half the area of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil, 877 square kilometers (339 square miles) of the Amazon rainforest, has been cleared. In 2016, Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) began documenting deforestation.
According to the institution’s reported data, the highest amount of deforestation got recorded in October 2021. The amount of deforestation has increased by 5 percent in October as compared to last year.
In 2020, deforestation increased dramatically due to illegal mining and cutting down trees to create agricultural land. In 2021, the same reasons will have caused another 7,880 square kilometers of forest destruction before the end of the year.
Following the Glasgow Conference, Brazil is one of the countries committed to ending deforestation by 2030. Bolsonaro, the President of South America, promised to reduce illegal deforestation by 60 percent by 2028.
But environmental groups claimed that the destruction of forest land for mining and agricultural land have increased during the Bolsonaro ruling. So, they are skeptical about how far this promise can go.
A spokesman for the Greenpeace Amazon campaign, Romulo Batista, said, “Deforestation and fires got out of control and violence between indigenous peoples and locals is rising. This promise will not change the reality at all.”
According to INPE data, there were more than 11,500 fires in the Amazon in October alone. Last year it was 17,300. But after 2019, these incidents have increased rapidly, which was 7900 then.
Since Jair Bolsonaro came to power in 2019, 10,000 square kilometers of the Amazon have been lost in a single year, almost the size of Lebanon. In the last decade, it was 6,500 square kilometers.
The Amazon is a vast forest located in the Amazon River basin of South America. Surrounded by a 7 million square kilometers basin, about 5.5 million square kilometers of this forest are mainly affected by the humid climate.
This forest has spread over nine countries. The Amazon is 60 percent in Brazil, 13 percent in Peru, and the rest in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana. Half of the world’s rainforests are in the Amazon.
The Amazon rainforest is crucial to the global oxygen and carbon cycles. It provides about 6% of the world’s oxygen and serves as a carbon sink, absorbing enormous amounts of CO2.
However, when trees get cut down and the surrounding forest burns, massive amounts of carbon got released into the atmosphere.
According to recent studies, we need to protect this forest from fires and other man-made consequences to restrict it from producing more carbon dioxide than it absorbs. However, burning the Amazon in Brazil worsens the problem, and the world must pay the price.