Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon Hits 10 Year High


Data released by the Brazilian government last week reveals that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has reached its highest rate since 2008. In the period August 2017 to July 2018, an area of 7,900 square kilometres of forest was cleared. That’s an increase of 13.7% compared to the previous 12 months.

Edson Duarte, Brazil’s outgoing environment minister, said in a statement that illegal logging was behind the increase in deforestation. He blamed “an upsurge in organised crime”, and called for the government to increase its policing of the Amazon rainforest.

Between them, the states of Pará, Rondônia, and Mato Grosso accounted for almost three-quarters of the deforestation. The state of Acre, which since 2010 has been the site of the world’s first jurisdictional REDD programme, saw deforestation increase by 84% compared to the previous 12 months.

Norway’s US$1 billion REDD deal. For what, exactly?

Norway’s US$1 billion REDD deal with Brazil was announced in December 2008 (that’s the dotted line on the graphic below). Before that deal, deforestation came down dramatically. But between 2009 and 2014, when most of the Norwegian money flowed to the Amazon Fund, deforestation remained pretty much stable.

Since then, it’s been going back up:

One of the reasons for the increase was that in 2013 President Dilma Rousseff approved a new forest code, that gave small landholders amnesty for previous deforestation.


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