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Despite Lula’s promises, more deforestation continues in the Amazon

(Brasilia) Deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon spiked again in March, making the first 100 days of Lula’s government some of the worst first quarters on record, official figures showed Friday.

The National Institute for Space Research (INPE) satellite monitor has revealed that 356 square kilometers of forest cover were destroyed in a month in the Brazilian part of the world’s largest rainforest.

An increase of 14% compared to March 2022, the last year of the government of Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022) who declared himself “Captain Chainsaw”.

During January-March, the destruction of the Brazilian Amazon was the second largest in history, reaching 844 km2 destroyed, behind 2022 (941 km2).

Hopes were high after he came to power in 1any January from Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva to see the inversion of the deforestation curve in the Amazon. But after years of impunity for those who destroyed the forest, the problem is too entrenched to be fixed quickly, experts say.

“The data shows that there is a complex scenario in the face of poor control in the region and illegal advocacy discourse in recent years,” said Mariana Napolitano, head of conservation at the Brazilian NGO WWF.

“Although the current government has shown its determination to fight deforestation seriously, it will take time to change the scenario,” she said.

From the first day of his term, Lula signed a raft of decrees, establishing an interministerial task force on deforestation and revitalizing the Amazon Fund, an initiative funded by foreign donations but suspended under Bolsonaro’s government.

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Lula’s government faces a dilemma: it needs funding to reduce deforestation, but above all it must reduce deforestation to give confidence and to attract that funding.