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Illegal activity led to the loss of 796.08 kilometers of vegetation cover, according to the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research.

Despite the measures of total and social confinement of some States during the first quarter of this year, the illegal deforestation of the Amazon jungle grew by 63.75 percent in April compared to the same month of the previous year. This was reported by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE, for its acronym in Portuguese).

Illegal activity led to the loss of 796.08 kilometers of vegetation cover. The destruction of the region is increasing, since in 2019 deforestation had grown 85% to 9,165.6 square kilometers, its highest level since 2016.

On May 7, the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, authorized the sending of armed forces to different areas of that country to fight deforestation and prevent fires like those that devastated the region in 2019.

By means of a decree, he allowed the army to act between May 11 and June 10 to fight against the destruction of the Amazon jungle. Last year, the president was strongly criticized inside and outside Brazil, for minimizing the environmental crisis. Only as a result of the global alarm that was generated, he decided to send the military during the July and October fires.

Different environmental groups attribute the devastation of the Amazon to Bolsonaro’s policies. Along these lines, Erika Berenguer, a specialist in ecological issues at the universities of Oxford and Lancaster, affirms that the problem with the government’s military strategy is that it focuses exclusively on fires. Thus, as he points out, the fact that the fire is frequently caused by illegal landowners who cut down trees and burn them is ignored.

“Unfortunately, it seems that what we can expect for this year are new historical marks of forest fires and deforestation,” Greenpeace spokesman Rómulo Batista said in a statement.

In Argentina, its neighboring country, the changes can already be seen in the downspout of the Paraná and other rivers that make up the Plata basin. Inés Camilloni, researcher at Conicet and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), studied the phenomenon and its impacts in the Plata basin years ago. In dialogue with Infobae, he explained that due to fires, a lot of carbon dioxide is released, which aggravates climate change and modifies the transport of moisture that contributes to forming rain throughout the Plata basin.

The changes that can be generated by the loss of forest area in the Amazon could be reflected in a lesser amount of rainfall in Argentina, and this is just a sample of how much the destruction of the world’s largest rain forest affects. Scientists say that its conservation is vital to stop global warming thanks to the large amount of greenhouse gases it absorbs.

The consequences of these activities are catastrophic for the environment and for societies. Without the Amazon, temperatures would be even higher and the quality of the air we breathe would worsen.

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