Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon Reaches a Six-Year Low

Brazilian Rainforest Deforestation Decreases

Brazilian Amazon (Photo: gustavofrazao/Depositphotos)

In a victory for the planet, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has continued to plummet. According to data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, INPE, deforestation reached a six-year low in May 2024. This promising trend began in 2023 after deforestation peaked in 2022.

The INPE shared that 193 square miles of rainforest were cleared in May, bringing 2024's total deforested area down 54% over the same period last year. The yearly total will be capped on July 31, which marks the peak of Brazil's dry season and is the date used by the government to calculate annual deforestation.

The sharp decline in deforestation coincides with the term of Brazil's current president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was sworn into office in January 2023. A key talking point of President Lula's campaign was the environment. In fact, he pledged to stop illegal logging and made a target of zero deforestation by 2030.

The Cerrado in Brazil

The Cerrado in Brazil (Photo: Angeladepaula via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

While great strides have been made in preserving the rainforest, there is concern for the adjacent region, the Cerrado. This vast tropical savanna has seen an increase in environmental destruction at the same time that the Brazilian Amazon has seen increased protection measures. This leads many to believe that illegal loggers have simply taken their activities elsewhere.

The Cerrado, which is home to 800 species of trees and a wealth of animals, is the second-largest biome in South America and the most biodiverse savanna in the world. It is also a major center of agriculture, with an enormous amount of livestock and grain production. Unfortunately, it is not constitutionally part of the country's National Heritage, and only 1.5% of its area falls under environmental protection. This makes it particularly vulnerable for those looking to exploit the environment without the government's watchful eye.

So, while we continue to have good news about the Brazilian Amazon, Brazil will need to move swiftly to also keep all of its ecosystems safe.

h/t: [Mongabay]

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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