Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region rose sharply in the first months of this year, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) reported on Friday. The nature organization calculates that almost 70% more rainforest has been cleared during this period compared to previous months.
The tropical rainforest retains large amounts of CO2 and therefore plays an important role in the global climate. But the Amazon rainforest is now heading towards a tipping point, warns WWF.
“Due to the large-scale overlap, there is less cloud formation over the rivers. The humidity in the atmosphere decreases and less rain falls,” the organization points out. The lack of rainfall turns an even larger area into “arid grassland”.
The WWF makes the link with the upcoming presidential elections in Brazil and with the war in Ukraine. With the approach of the October elections, the guardianship was “sharply reduced”, according to the nature organization. This gives carte blanche to illegal loggers.
Also in recent years, control and enforcement have been significantly reduced. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has consistently emphasized economic interests over nature conservation during his reign.
Nevertheless, at the end of last year at the climate summit in Glasgow, Brazil was one of the countries that signed an agreement in which they promised to end deforestation and land degradation before the end of this decade.
A forest the size of Veluwe has been lost
The WWF estimates that 1,102 square kilometers of rainforest was lost in April alone. “It’s more than the entire forest of the Veluwe.”
According to WWF, the Brazilian government is trying to use the war in Ukraine to push through mining plans in areas where the country’s indigenous peoples live.
Phosphate could be extracted in these mines, for example, a raw material that is used, among other things, as fertilizer. Russian exports are currently at a standstill.
Right-wing populist Bolsonaro will face left-wing former President Lula da Silva in the October election.