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The Brazilian Amazon registered a 104 percent surge in deforestation last month, compared to the same month last year. The 563 km2 [217 square miles] razed area that month is also the highest number for any month of November since 2015, according to the country’s National Institute for Space Research [INPE], which provides official data on deforestation. This stark change is particularly interesting, for during the rainy season, general deforestation activity slows.
During Bolsonaro’s first 11 months in power, deforestation totaled almost 9000 km2 [8,974.3 to be exact], nearly twice the area for the first 11 months of last year [4,878.7 km2 reported]. Data was gathered by the satellite-based DETER system, which monitors deforestation in real time. PRODES, another satellite-based system used by the INPE, considered more reliable but slower to compile data, reported in late November that for 12 months, starting with August 2018, deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon surpassed the 10,000 km2 threshold for the first time since 2008, a 43 percent increase from the preceding 12 month period. INPE reported a higher percentage for indigenous areas, almost 75 percent for the same period.
PRODES revealed that the world’s largest tropical forest lost 10,100 km2 in that 12 month period, compared to 7,033 km2 in the previous 12 months. INPE’s former president, Ricardo Galvao, was named by the British Journal of Nature on Friday [one day ahead of the institute’s report on the Amazon] as one of the top 10 most important scientists of the year. A few months ago, in early August, the Bolsonaro administration fired Galvao, accusing him of exaggerating the level of deforestation.