|(image via rosinakaiser/pixabay)|
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is making good on campaign promises to allow increased deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest, according to the New York Times.
While campaigning for president last year, Mr. Bolsonaro declared that Brazil’s vast protected lands were an obstacle to economic growth and promised to open them up to commercial exploitation.
Seven months into his term, that is already happening.
Brazil’s part of the Amazon has lost more than 1,330 square miles of forest cover since Mr. Bolsonaro took office in January, a 39 percent increase over the same period last year, according to the government agency that tracks deforestation.
In June alone, when the cooler, drier season began and cutting trees became easier, the deforestation rate rose drastically, with roughly 80 percent more forest cover lost than in June of last year.
The deforestation of the Amazon is spiking as Mr. Bolsonaro’s government pulls back on enforcement measures like fines, warnings and the seizure or destruction of illegal equipment in protected areas.
The Amazon Rainforest makes up so much of South America that, if it were its own country by mass, it would rank 7th in the world.
The Amazon Rainforest has been called the lungs of the planet helping to create a huge portion of the oxygen needed to sustain the world population. So, imagine losing that much oxygen-producing plantlife.
Plus, when deforestation happens in the Rainforest, it’s not just cutting down tree. The process often uses techniques like torching vast areas of vegetation, which also destroys valuable nutrients and shortens the lifespan of the land.