Amazon deforestation hits worst level in 11 years

Brazil Amazon deforestation soars to 11-year high under Bolsonaro

Brazil Amazon deforestation soars to 11-year high under Bolsonaro

A report by a Brazilian government agency says the rate of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is at its highest in more than a decade.

The National Institute for Space Research said Monday that deforestation between August 2018 and July 2019 reached 9,762 square kilometres (3,769 square miles), a 30 per cent increase over the previous year and the most since 2008.

The area of deforestation is the largest recorded since 2008 and is about the size of the US states of DE and Rhode Island combined.

Concern about the Amazon rose after Bolsonaro took office in January. His administration has advocated deregulation around natural reserves and indigenous lands to promote economic development.

Environmentalists and nonprofit groups have warned that weakening environmental legislation will increase deforestation.

"The Bolsonaro government is responsible for every inch of forest destroyed".

In July and August, fires in the Amazon region spread at a pace unseen since 2010, before slowing in September.

Some European leaders have questioned Brazil's commitment to tackling deforestation and argued that the fires in the Amazon required a global response because of the ecosystem's critical role in draining heat-trapping carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Environment Minister Ricardo Salles told reporters in a briefing on the figures that Brazil would roll out a series of measures to counter the rising deforestation, including stepping up enforcement efforts assisted by high-resolution satellite imaging.

The ministry is due to meet with the governors in the Amazon region on Thursday to discuss ways to combat the issue.

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