Deforestation drops by 34% in first half of 2023

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has declined by a third this year compared to the same period last year, according to government data just released.

This comes after President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva ran for office last year promising to reverse his predecessor’s loosening of several Amazon regulations. And he’s taken a few key steps since winning office, including:

  1. 🌳 Seizing illegally-cleared land
  2. 💸 Sanctioning those involved in illegal forest clearing, and
  3. 🎖️ Using the military to drive out illegal miners in the Yanomami indigenous territory, which is roughly the size of Scotland.

Intrigue’s take: It might be too early to tell how entrenched this trend is: peak deforestation season, which coincides with the dry season, is just getting started. And Brazil’s opposition has already shown a willingness to shoot down Lula’s environmental proposals.

But deforestation fell by 72% during Lula’s first two terms as president (2003-2010). So he’s probably got a few more tricks up his sleeve yet.

Also worth noting:

  • The long-awaited EU-Mercosur free trade agreement has been stalled by EU demands for environmental assurances from Brazil.
  • Deforestation data is collected using a system of satellites mapping newly-cleared patches of forest.
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