São Paulo, Aug 6, 2021 – Official data published today by the Brazilian Space Research Institute (INPE), detected deforestation alerts across an area of the Amazon rainforest over five and a half times the size of London in the last 12 months.
8,712km2 (871,200 hectares) of the Amazon saw deforestation alerts between August 1, 2020 and July 30, 2021 according to the Brazil government’s own DETER-B alert system – the second largest annual amount the system has recorded since its implementation in 2015.
New images footage of fires and deforestation captured by Greenpeace Brazil can be downloaded here: https://media.greenpeace.org/collection/27MDHUWNMU1G
The news comes midway through a visit to Brazil by the UK’s COP26 minister, Alok Sharma, and days after the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies voted to approve a new land grabbing bill that would further legitimise illegal deforestation. The new bill could put at least 19.6 million hectares of public non-designated land in the Amazon at risk according to the Brazilian NGO Imazon.
Cristiane Mazzetti, Senior Forest Campaigner, Greenpeace Brazil said:
“Few expected this government to fulfill its promise to reduce deforestation by 10% but if the Brazilian Senate now approves the land grabbers’ law, the Congress will succeed in accelerating the collapse of the Amazon. Parts of the rainforest vital to preventing the worst scenarios of the climate and biodiversity emergencies will be lost forever.”
Land grabbing on public lands is linked to one-third of all Amazon deforestation in Brazil. The main driver of deforestation is clearance by meat producers for cattle ranches. Despite recent promises by Bolsonaro to address illegal deforestation as he hopes to negotiate new trade deals with the EU, USA, UK, and Canada, he and his allies are advancing a whole suite of radical bills that would allow for more deforestation and undermine Indigenous Peoples’ land rights.
Experts predict these proposals could ‘break’ the Amazon because the rainforest can only sustain so much forest loss before it fails as an ecosystem.
Anna Jones, Greenpeace UK head of forests, said:
“Decades of inaction by governments and companies have created the crisis the Amazon now faces, emboldening the Brazilian government to further exploit the Amazon and push through some of the most destructive legislation ever seen.
“Trusted brands like Tesco, Sainsbury’s and M&S still buy from forest destroyers despite promises to remove deforestation from their supply chains by 2020. And legislation proposed by the UK government is so weak it’s effectively giving carte blanche to Bolsonaro to legalise more deforestation to get around the rules.
“Immediate action is needed on all fronts to prevent the climate, humanitarian and wildlife catastrophe that losing the Amazon and other vital forests would cause. Supermarkets like Tesco must immediately drop meat suppliers owned by forest destroyers like JBS and governments must close legislative loopholes to ensure deforestation-free supply chains are exactly that.”