Deforestation in all ecosystems in Brazil increased last year by 20.1%, according to an independent study made public on Monday, which highlights that in 2021 the Amazon lost an average of 18 trees per second.
“Brazil lost 16,557 km2 of original vegetation cover in all its ecosystems last year”, after 13,789 km2 in 2020, indicates the collaborative platform Mapbiomas, which compiles data from various satellite mapping systems.
Most of this deforestation (59%) has taken place in the Amazon. Next come the Cerrado, the Brazilian savannah (30.2%), the Caatinga, a semi-arid zone in the northeast (7%), then the Atlantic forest or “Mata atlantica” (1.8%) and the Pantanal ( 1.7%).
“In the Amazon alone, 111.6 hectares have been deforested every hour, or 1.9 hectares per minute, which equates to nearly 18 trees per second,” says Mapbiomas, which brings together NGOs, universities and technology companies. .
Agriculture and livestock farming remain the main “pressure vectors” of deforestation, for which they are responsible for 97%.
In the State of Para , clandestine mines also exert strong pressure, according to the study.
Since 2019, when far-right President Jair Bolsonaro came to power, deforestation in all ecosystems has reached 42,000 km2, “almost the surface of the state of Rio de Janeiro”, according to the same source.
Environmentalists and the opposition accuse the Bolsonaro government of encouraging deforestation by defending the exploitation of the Amazon and weakening environmental control bodies.
According to official data from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), between January and June 2022, the Brazilian part of the Amazon (60%) lost 3,988 km2 of forested area, a record for a first semester since 2016 , date of the first readings of the Real-Time Deforestation Detection System (Deter).
Official figures also show that since President Bolsonaro came to power, the average annual deforestation in the Amazon has increased 75% compared to the previous decade e.