Brazil deploys troops to curb Amazon deforestation

BRASILIA: Brazil’s government has renewed for a presidential decree for thirty days allowing the deployment of the armed forces to combat rising deforestation in the Amazon and protecting the world’s largest rainforest.
The extension was signed by President Jair Bolsonaro giving the military authority over environmental agencies in the Amazon. Brazil deployed thousands of soldiers to protect the rainforest a month ago as the government launched an early response to a surge in deforestation ahead of the high season for forest fires.
The destruction of the rainforest has accelerated since Bolsonaro took office last year, vowing to ease environmental regulation to allow economic development of the Amazon region as a way to reduce poverty.
Last year, Bolsonaro waited until August to send troops into the Amazon, following international outcry over a wave of fires. The rainforest traps vast amounts of greenhouse gases and is vital to slowing global climate warming.
Forest fires are frequent in the dry season and land grabbers often use them as a quick way to clear the forest. Environmental advocates and scientific researchers blame the policies Bolsonaro for emboldening them to clear the forest.
According to revised government data, the deforestation of Amazon rainforest was worse than previously reported in 2019. Brazil’s space research agency INPE recorded 10,129 square kilometers of deforestation for the annual period from August 2018 to July 2019.
This is an area about the size of Lebanon and a 34.4 percent rise from the same period a year earlier. The 2019 data remains the highest level of deforestation seen in the Amazon since 2008.
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