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The Amazon deforestation, in 2019


Deforestation in the Amazon from August 2018 to June 2019 increased by 29.5%, from 7536 km2 to 9765 km2. An increase from 2018 was already forecast from August to December 2018. Electoral years are likely to have higher deforestation, and in that particular electoral year, one of the favorite candidates, Jair Bolsonaro, adopted a discourse of blatant incitement against the environmental. Command and control institutions and repeatedly sympathized with those who deforest and the illegal gold miners invading indigenous land, signaling their future impunity.


In the six months following Bolsonaro's inauguration, political incitement has surged. Also, efforts to dismantle institutions such as IBAMA (the Brazilian EPA, previously seriously undermined) and ICMbio(takes care federal preservation) and the IMPE( the Brazilian Spatial Institute that monitors deforestation by satellite). A plethora of norms, decrees, and other legal acts of forest protection have been trashed. Threats and violence against environmental civil servants have escalated. The president himself announced he would prohibit the legal destruction of tractors, mining barges, and other deforestation and pollution equipment. This has created even greater obstacles in the daily fight against deforestation, which, in the case of the Amazon, occurs mainly in undesignated public rain forests but also conservation units. Illegal land grabbers are responsible for most of the deforestation. They occupy, speculate on, and sell them sometimes placing very low-productivity livestock to symbolize the ownership of the appropriated areas, subtracted from the public patrimony.


Analyzing state by state, the hardest hit, as it has been happening for years, is in Pará with 3862 km2 deforested, an increase of 42% over the previous year. In relative terms, the highest percentages of the increase occurred in Roraima and Acre, respectively 216% and 55%. Deforestation in Pará, although in absolute terms, is the highest, with a 41% increase over last year is still 56% below this 2004 peak.


The case of Amazonas is noteworthy because it is still a carbon-negative state (together with Amapá and Roraima). Nevertheless, now, deforestation is taking place at high speed and intensity. It already reaches 1421 km2 in an increase of 36% compared to last year and 15% compared to the year of the highest deforestation in the Amazon, this century, 2004.

Deforestation in the Amazon is mainly in the south and linked to banditry and trafficking, including narco-terrorists coming from neighboring Colombia.


The state of Amapá, besides being the one with the lowest deforestation, in absolute terms: only 8 km2, is also one of the three in which deforestation decreased in this period: a 67% decrease compared to 2018 and 83% compared to 2004. In Maranhão there was also a reduction of deforestation at 15% compared to last year and 72% compared to 2004.


The case of Rondônia is curious because its governor, along with that of Acre and Roraima, forms the trio most in tune with the Bolsonaro government but, unlike the other two states, in Rondônia, the PRODES figures show a reduction in deforestation of 5 % and 68% compared to 2004. In absolute terms, the decreasing order in deforested volume, in 2019, among the Amazon states Pará, Mato Grosso (where there is intense legal deforestation), Amazonas, Roraima, Acre, Roraima, Maranhão, Tocantins, and Amapá.

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