Government measures lead to 16% decrease in Legal Amazon deforestation
According to data from the National Institute of Space Research (INPE), deforestation in the Legal Amazon fell 16% between August 2016 and July this year, after two years of consecutive increases. The numbers were announced on Tuesday (17) by the Minister of the Environment (Sarney Filho) and the Minister of Science, Technology, Innovations & Communications (Gilberto Kassab) in a meeting with President Michel Temer.
For Minister Filho, the decrease reflects the efforts by the current administration to preserve Brazilian biomes, including investments in remote oversight of the areas and real-time detection of felling, normalisation of the budget of the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (IBAMA), the creation of a new national park and the implementation of the National System for the Control of Origin of Forest Product (Sinaflor).
According to the data obtained, deforested areas increased by 27% and 24% between the same months of 2015-2016 and 2014-2015, respectively. This year, the area of suppressed vegetation amounted to 6,624 km² (2,557 sq mi), compared to 7,893 km² (3,047 sq mi) between 2015 and 2016. Of the nine states that make up the Legal Amazon, Tocantins (-53%) and Roraima (-43%) had the best results, while Amapá was the only one that saw an increase in deforested areas (82%).
“These numbers are highly encouraging," said the Minister of Environment. "It's a very big team effort. And the result gives Brazil further credibility to reach Bonn [Germany] for the 23rd Conference of the Parties [COP 23] as a leading country in the climate front due to its aggressive fulfilment of national commitments", he added.
In collaboration with agencies of the Ministry of the Environment, the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications, through the INPE, systematically maps the region relying on 95 image feeds from the Landsat satellite. The images cover 39 priority municipalities and regions that saw about 90% of the deforestation seen in previous periods.
According to the Science Minister Gilberto Kassab, the positive result reflects the policies of the Brazilian government, which treats the problem as a priority and invests resources to address it: "It is worth remembering that this is one of the most observed Brazilian indices by all humanity; the world observes the Amazon. Today, with the consolidation of the downward trend, the world is realising that the Temer administration's public policies are correct, and the results are beginning to show”.