View of the amazon river from above
Aerial view of the Amazon forest

After four years of rising destruction in Brazil’s Amazon, deforestation dropped by 33.6% during the first six months of President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva’s term, according to new government satellite data.

From January to June the rainforest had alerts covering 2,650 sq km (1,023 sq miles), down from 4,000 sq km during the same period last year under former president Jair Bolsonaro. This year’s data includes a 41% plunge in alerts for June, which marks the start of the dry season when deforestation tends to jump.

“The effort of reversing the curve of growth has been reached. That is a fact: we reversed the curve; deforestation isn’t increasing,” João Paulo Capobianco, the environment ministry’s executive secretary, said during a presentation in Brasilia.

Capobianco noted that full-year results will depend on a few challenging months ahead. Still, the data is an encouraging sign for Lula, who campaigned last year with pledges to rein in illegal logging and undo the environmental devastation during Bolsonaro’s term.

The far-right leader weakened environmental authorities while his insistence on development of the Amazon region resonated with landgrabbers […]

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