Cumulative deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest, 1990-2016. Graphic: National Institute for Space Research / Camila Domonoske, Tyler Fisher, and Alyson Hurt / NPR

By Camila Domonoske
30 November 2016

(NPR) – An annual study released by the Brazilian government estimates that the rate of deforestation in the Amazon has increased by 29 percent over last year.

That's the second year in a row that deforestation in the Amazon quickened; last year, the pace rose by about 24 percent.

The estimated deforestation rate, released Tuesday by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE), is based on satellite imagery. The institute found that from August 2015 to July 2016, the Amazon rainforest was deforested at an estimated rate of 7,989 square kilometers (more than 3,000 square miles).

The year before, it was 6,207 square kilometers. Two years ago, it was barely over 5,000 square kilometers. […]

The Brazilian newspaper Estadão reports that many observers had been prepared to see an increase in deforestation, but not one this high. [more]

Deforestation Of The Amazon Up 29 Percent From Last Year, Study Finds


Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, 1 December 2016. Photo: Ueslei Marcelino / Reuters

By Stephen Eisenhammer
1 December 2016

(Reuters) – The rainforest shook with the sound of exploding tires and groaning steel as flames tore through a truck carrying giant tree trunks illegally sawn from the Amazon.

An agent of Brazil's environment police had, moments earlier, ordered the driver from his cab at gun point. In a scuffed blue cap and muddied jeans, the 25-year-old fought back tears as he learned his truck would be set alight right there.

He walked away rather than watch it burn.

When able to do their job, agents of the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, or Ibama, are decisive, punishing illegal loggers on the spot.

But this seizure was the only success in four days of operations this month near the town of Novo Progresso in Brazil's vast northern state of Pará.

Hampered by poor radios with a maximum range of just 2 km (1.3 miles) and pick-up trucks easily recognised by those who cut down the forest, the exhausted Ibama agents were too often chasing shadows.

"The loggers are better equipped than we are," said Uiratan Barroso, Ibama's head of law enforcement in the state capital, Santarem. "Until we have the money to rent unmarked cars and buy proper radios we won't be able to work." [more]

Brazil's Amazon guardians

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