Amazon deforestation slows under Brazil's new president
Brasilia, Brazil - Deforestation in the Amazon region has dropped significantly since Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva took office as president, Brazil's Environment Ministry announced on Wednesday.
The deforested area in the region fell by 31% in the first five months of the year compared to the same period last year, official data from space research agency Inpe said.
In contrast, deforestation in the Cerrado, the wet savannahs in southeastern Brazil, has increased by 35% compared to the previous year.
Lula began his third term in office on January 1. He was not considered an environmentalist in his previous terms in office from 2003 to 2010, but he has now promised to strengthen environmental and climate protection as well as Indigenous rights.uL
The Amazon – the largest rainforest in the world – holds 12% of the planet's fresh water and is home to 10% of all species in the world, according the conservation organization WWF.
It calculates that around 20% of the original area of the Amazon has already been destroyed. Scientists fear that a loss of 25% is a tipping point from which the ecosystem may no longer regenerate.
Cover photo: JOSEPH EID / AFP