Deforestation in Amazon Down 30% in February

Reuters file photo
Indigenous Mura people pose for a picture in a deforested area of a non-demarcated indigenous land in the Amazon rainforest near Humaita, Brazil, in August 2019.

SAO PAULO (Reuters) — Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest fell 30% in February from a year earlier, government data showed on March 8, as President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s government worked toward a pledge to end illegal deforestation by 2030.

According to preliminary satellite data from space research agency INPE, 226 square kilometers of the world’s largest rainforest were cleared last month.

That represented a significant drop from the record 322 square kilometers deforested in the same period last year, although figures were still above the nine-year average of 173 square kilometers for the month.

The February satellite data, however, can be especially noisy given heavy clouds over the rainforest early in the year.

The month was marked by a sharp spike in wildfires in Brazil’s northernmost state of Roraima, threatening Indigenous communities in the crisis-wracked Yanomami territory.

“We must be especially carefully interpreting data from January and February, but the trend is still the same we had been seeing in 2023: A drop in Amazon deforestation, an increase in Cerrado deforestation,” said WWF-Brasil’s strategy director Mariana Napolitano, citing the rising threat to one of the world’s most biodiverse savannas.