Bloomberg — Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon reached a record high in the first half, boosting concern that fires in the rainforest may jump as the dry season begins.
An area almost three times the size of Brazil’s biggest city, Sao Paulo, was cleared in the jungle in June, according to the alert system of the National Institute for Space Research. The rate of destruction rose 11% from the prior record a year earlier to almost 4,000 square kilometers (1,540 square miles), the data show, and alerts hit monthly records four times in 2022, including June.
That may be a sign of further destruction, according to Greenpeace. The slashing and burning to raze the jungle has left high levels of organic material in soil, providing potential fuel for fires in coming months, when the weather in the region turns drier and warmer. The number of fires in the Amazon Biome rose 18% through June, data from the institute, known as INPE, show.
Amazon deforestation has accelerated during the administration of President Jair Bolsonaro, and the deterioration of Brazil’s environmental reputation may be turned against him by challengers as he seeks re-election in October. Former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is mulling the appointment of a special envoy for climate to help rebuild the nation’s image abroad if elected, Bloomberg reported this week.