Amazon in danger after Coronavirus pandemic takes attention away from the accelerated deforestation

President Jair Bolsonaro has faced large amount of criticism over his policies for the Amazon deforestation

The deforestation in the Amazon forests during the first four months of this year has been recorded to be higher than any other year, as per data released from Brazil's National Space Research Institute (INPE) on Friday, May 8. Due to the lack of attention in the forests amid the coronavirus crisis, there are heightened concerns over the possibility of a repeat of what happened last year happening in the forest yet again.

According to the data, an area of 1,202 square kilometres of forest (464 square miles) in the Brazilian region has been wiped out since January 2020. This is a 55 percent increase since the same time last year.

The country is preparing to send in the military groups as the deforestation has been caused by illegal logging and mining. Reports say that destruction in forests happened largely due to the illegal loggers and ranchers. Several environmentalists believe that the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's policies encourage such activities in the Amazon.

Conservation groups focused on the Amazon says that only a few government enforcement agents have been sent to the Amazon since the beginning of the outbreak. Brazil is also one of the most affected countries due to coronavirus in South America.

Increase in Deforestation because of Bolsanaro?

Amazon fire
This is recently deforested land in the Amazon Marizilda Cruppe/Rede Amazônia Sustentável

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has continuously argued that farming and mining are the only ways to lift the region out of poverty. Records suggested that ever since Bolsonaro has taken office the deforestation has escalated in Brazil's part of Amazon. Reports said that ever since he took office last year the deforestation has escalated to 85 percent more than usual. The President has also rejected the criticism about his policies on the Amazon forests and said that Brazil remained an example for the conservation of the forests.

The destruction of the forests was also followed by the forest fires that took place in the later parts of 2019 which raised alarm over the deforestation. The usual high season for deforestation usually starts in May but this year the trend began much earlier causing conservationists to worry about the future of the forests. Under the Bolsonaro's governance the IBAMA, an environmental agency has faced a lot of backlash from the government including budget cuts and staffing issues. The agency said that they were scaling back the field agents from other risk regions but not from the Amazon.

Bolsonaro is said to be deploying the army to the forests to combat the rising deforestation starting May 11. Previously he had also downplayed the Amazon fires. Brazil holds around 60 percent of the Amazon and has also been severely affected by the coronavirus. Even the indigenous communities in the Amazon have also been severely affected by the coronavirus.

Related topics : Coronavirus