The Amazon Rainforest's deforestation rates show major repeated increases under since Brazlian President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January 2019.

Covering over 5.5 million square kilometres, the Amazon Rainforest is the world's richest and most-diverse biological ecosystem, containing several million species of plants, insects, plants, birds, and other forms of life, many still unrecorded by science.
Covering over 5.5 million square kilometres, the Amazon Rainforest is the world's richest and most-diverse biological ecosystem, containing several million species of plants, insects, plants, birds, and other forms of life, many still unrecorded by science. (AFP)

The area deforested in Brazil's Amazon has reached a 15-year high after a 22% jump from the prior year.

The National Institute for Space Research’s PRODES monitoring system showed the Brazilian Amazon lost 13,235 square kilometers of rainforest in the 12-month reference period from Aug. 2020 to July 2021. This was its highest loss of forest area since 2006.

Annual Amazon deforestation has increased drastically for the third time in a row under the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro. 

The opposition blames him for  the spike due to his encouragement for increased farming and mining activity.

READ MORE: Over 100 world leaders pledge to end deforestation by end of decade 

Environmental crimes 

Environment Minister Joaquim Leite admitted the figures represent "a challenge" and vowed to be "more forceful against environmental crimes."

He also insisted the data "does not exactly reflect the situation in the last few months."

However, last week INPE said it had registered the worst October on record for deforestation, with an area more than half the size of the city of Rio de Janeiro cleared.

The government says it has intensified its attempts to combat illegal deforestation by deploying more troops on the ground.

Brazil was among the signatories to an international pledge made at the COP26 summit in Glasgow to end deforestation by 2030.

Bolsonaro also went further by pledging to eliminate illegal deforestation in the giant South American country—home to 60 percent of the Amazon—by 2028, pulling forward a previous target by two years.

READ MORE: Brazil's Bolsonaro decries 'demagogic' attacks over Amazon deforestation

Source: TRTWorld and agencies