Deforestation in the Amazon worse than ever for September ahead of Brazilian elections

An area almost twice the size of New York City was deforested in September alone - more than any other September on record


Manaus, 7 October, 2022 – An area of the Amazon almost twice the size of New York City was deforested in September, according to alerts from the Brazilian Space Research Institute (INPE)’s system DETER. 1,455 km2 is the largest area ever recorded for the month of September. The data shows an increase of 48% compared to the same month last year. 2022 has seen record-breaking numbers of fires and deforestation.

From January to September, 8,590 km² of the Amazon was deforested (11 times the size of NYC). And in the past three years, an area larger than Belgium was deforested in the Amazon according to the official government database PRODES.

Cristiane Mazzetti, spokesperson for Greenpeace Brazil, said:
“In recent years, the Bolsonaro government has shown complete disregard for a safe climate and for the Amazon rainforest, Indigenous Peoples and traditional communities. His administration has actively promoted an anti-environment, anti-Indigenous and anti-democratic agenda that has resulted in a severe increase in carbon emissions and that paints a grave scenario in Brazil. This destructive project cannot continue.”

Paul Morozzo, senior food and forests campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said:
“Bolsonaro has allowed and in fact encouraged catastrophic levels of deforestation in the Amazon and other climate-critical Brazilian forests. His administration has also lobbied the UK and EU to try and block crucial legislation that could stop deforestation-linked products entering our markets. 

“The Brazilian elections are not just about the future of Brazil, the result will have an impact on all of humanity. If we lose the Amazon, we lose the fight against the climate crisis.”

By emboldening forest destruction, the Brazilian government’s actions have also caused an increase in violence in the field against Indigeneous Peoples and environmental defenders. According to a report published by NGO CIMI, 176 Indigenous People were murdered in 2021. Brazil is one of the most dangerous countries for environmentalists, according to a report by Global Witness.

Over 17% of the entire Amazon Basin has already been deforested, and this massive destruction is pushing the forest closer to a tipping point. If 20 to 25% of the Amazon is lost, it would fail as an ecosystem, according to a research by scientists Carlos Nobre and Thomas Lovejoy. The high deforestation rate in Brazil has caused the country’s carbon emissions to increase. Some 46% of the country’s emissions come from deforestation.


Photos and Videos of fires in the Amazon are available in the Greenpeace Media Library

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