The area deforested in the Brazilian Amazon in April was 529 square kilometers, representing an increase of 171% compared to the same period last year, according to data from the Institute of Man and Environment of the Amazon (Imazon).
The information was collected by the Imazon Deforestation Alert System (SAD), an institute that has no connection to the Brazilian Government, which added that, between the period from January to April 2020, the accumulated deforestation was 1.073 square kilometers, an increase 133% compared to the same period in 2019, when deforestation totaled 460 square kilometers.
The figures presented by Imazon contrast with the data released earlier this month by the National Institute for Space Research (INPE, linked to the Federal Government), which reported an increase of 63,75% in April, compared to the same month last year.
According to INPE, deforestation warning signs were issued in 405,6 square kilometers in the states of the so-called Legal Amazon, which includes Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins and part of Maranhão, a number much lower than the 529 square kilometers reported by Imazon.
Taking into account Imazon's figures, deforestation in the Amazon in April was even the biggest in ten years, according to the G1 news portal.
Pará was the most affected state in April, concentrating 32% of the entire deforested area, followed by Mato Grosso (26%), Rondônia (19%), Amazonas (18%), Roraima (4%) and Acre (1 %).
“In April 2020, the majority (60%) of deforestation occurred in private areas or under various stages of possession. The rest of deforestation was recorded in conservation units (22%), settlements (15%) and indigenous lands (3%), ”added Imazon in a statement.
To collect this data, Imazon used the SAD, which collects images from different satellites, observing the same geographical areas at intervals of five to eight days.
INPE, linked to the Government, used the Deter-B system, which also uses “images obtained in real time” by satellites. Cloud cover, intense in the Amazon region, can prevent an area of deforestation from being identified in the month it occurs, and only appear when visibility improves.
In addition to deforestation, the Brazilian Amazon was heavily threatened last year by the fires that struck the region between June and August and forced the Government to send the Armed Forces to help control the fires.
Images of fires destroying huge stretches of vegetation circulated around the world and caused a wave of outrage among the international community and non-governmental organizations, which accused Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro of having anti-environmental rhetoric.
The Amazon, the largest tropical forest in the world that has the highest biodiversity recorded in an area of the planet, covers approximately 5,5 million square kilometers and includes territories in Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana (belonging to France).