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In a promising development, deforestation in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil fell by a substantial 56.8% in September compared to the previous month. This encouraging trend comes as the Amazon grapples with one of the most severe droughts it has faced in the past four decades.
Government data reveals that the area cleared in the Amazon during the first nine months of this year has seen a remarkable decline of 49.5%. This positive shift can be attributed to the ongoing efforts to combat illegal deforestation, which is now a top priority for President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva’s administration, both on the international and domestic fronts. This commitment to curbing deforestation stems from the alarming surge in rainforest destruction during the tenure of his predecessor, Jair Bolsonaro.
In line with the commitment to environmental preservation, Brazil’s Environment Minister, Marina Silva, made a significant announcement at the United Nations Summit in New York in September. Brazil has set more ambitious climate targets, reaffirming its dedication to combat climate change and protecting its invaluable natural resources.
Historically, deforestation and wildfires have spiked in the Amazon during August and September, coinciding with the drier weather conditions. However, the data for the past month shows a 36% reduction in fires, marking an improvement from the alarming levels witnessed in September 2022, which was the worst in over a decade.
While the reduction in deforestation in the Amazon is undoubtedly a step in the right direction, it comes at a time when the Amazon is grappling with an unprecedented drought, the most severe in 40 years. This prolonged dry spell increases the risk of wildfires, further challenging the efforts to preserve this vital ecosystem.
The drought has taken a toll on the Amazon’s ecosystem, causing water levels in key rivers to recede significantly. This, in turn, has hindered local communities’ access to essential food and drinking supplies, exacerbating the difficulties faced by those living in the region.
Recognizing the global significance of the Amazon rainforest, Switzerland and the United States recently contributed $8.4 million to Brazil’s Amazon Fund. This financial support aims to preserve the world’s largest tropical rainforest, ensuring its continued existence for future generations.