Deforestation rates in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil have soared, with an area roughly three times the size of Rhode Island illegally chopped down, an annual satellite survey by the country’s government shows.
Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research found the rate of deforestation rose 29 percent from August 2015 to July 2016, representing more than 3,000 square miles of rainforest. The region has been under near constant threat from lucrative illegal logging and the expansion of cattle and agriculture plantations. An area roughly the size of California has been wiped out in the past 40 years.
The Brazilian government has made a concerted effort to protect the rainforest, which is home to about 10 percent of the planet’s known biodiversity. Conservation efforts have cut the rate of deforestation by 71 percent since it peaked in 2004. But the recent uptick reflects the ongoing struggle the country faces as it seeks to completely end illicit logging by 2030, in an effort to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
Sometimes it just seems so surreal.