BOGOTA, Colombia

Brazil’s Amazon rainforest saw its worst level of deforestation for the month of January, with around 360 square kilometers (139 square miles) of forest lost, according to data released Wednesday by Brazil’s national space research institute, INPE. 

It is not the first increase under President Jair Bolsonaro, who has called for more mining and commercial farming on protected rainforest land.

​​In 2021, the Brazilian Amazon had its worst year in a decade. Deforestation grew 29% with 10,363 square kilometers (around 4,001 square miles) of native forest destroyed between January and December, according to INPE.

From August 2020 to July 2021, the rainforest lost 13,200 square kilometers (5,097 square miles) of vegetation, the largest area since 2006.

Environmentalists worry that if the trend continues, 2022 will be another devastating year for the Brazilian Amazon.

Since Bolsonaro took office in 2019, progress on deforestation in Brazil has reversed, with the deforestation rate rising to a 12-year high.

Although ​​Bolsonaro’s government made efforts last November at the UN climate summit in Glasgow, Scotland to show​​ that it is protecting the Amazon by pledging to end illegal deforestation by 2028, data shows that no efforts have been made to address the problem.

According to some scientists, in the last 36 years, the region has lost 17% of its native vegetation due to deforestation. Brazil is home to the majority of the world’s largest rainforest.

They warn that if 20% to 25% of the forest is destroyed, it could cross a tipping point, dry out and it would be impossible to save it.

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