|The figures show that in only 6 months between August 2012 and February 2013, the rate of clearance increased by an estimated 26.82% and an area of the Amazon larger than the size of the city of London disappeared.|
In absolute numbers, that means 1,695 square kilometers (654 square miles) of forest disappeared which equates to an area the size of 237,000 soccer fields.
The increase in deforestation rates can be directly attributed to the Brazilian government’s systematic dismantling of the laws and agencies that protect the Amazon. These changes opened up the Amazon for destruction, making the current citizen’s initiative for Zero Deforestation Law in Brazil even more necessary.
President Dilma Rousseff’s approval of a new Forest Code, a law that provides amnesty for crimes committed after 2008 in the Amazon and reduces large areas of protected land, paved the way for the increase in deforestation. The president also structurally weakened government agencies like IBAMA, the federal environmental enforcement agency, so unfortunately it won’t be a surprise if deforestation continues to rise in the Amazon.