Environmental ministry calculated the totals by using satellite imagery, which documents areas of deforested land larger than 15.4 acres. An area was considered to be deforested if the primary forest cover had been removed, regardless of what the land was used for.
The results reveal that Amazon is being destroyed at the fastest rate in a decade. Satellite data revealed that over 3000 swore miles of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest was lost between August 2017 and July 2018. The amount of rainforest is 10 times the size of New York City.
The total amount of loss equates to a 13.7 percent growth in total deforestation from the previous year and represents roughly 1.185 billion trees, a horrific number.
Brazil’s Environmental Minister, Edson Durte, is blaming illegal loggers, noting that an “upsurge of organized crime that acts in the illegal deforestation of the Amazon”. According to Duarte, the organized crime is also part of other illegal practices including arms trafficking.
In a statement Duarte said, “In addition to intensifying enforcement actions as the federal government has been doing in recent years, we need to broaden the mobilization of all levels of government, society, and the productive sector in the fight against environmental violations and in defense of the sustainable development of the biome.”
On top of that, the problem may only get worse as the recent reelection of Jair Bolsonaro has put him back in office. Bolsonaro is famous for his goals of privatizing the Amazon for the benefit of economic growth.
The combination of growing illegal practices and Bolsonaro has many environmentalists extremely concerned as it could spark an extreme growth in deforestation going forward. The Amazon is one of the most invaluable resources on the planet as well as being the most diverse areas of our planet above the sea. On top of that, the Amazon is one of the largest sink for CO2 as the tropical rainforest converts more CO2 to oxygen than anywhere else in the world.