An aerial view of deforestation in the Amazon, Brazil.
A Financial Times podcast released this week explores the
increase in deforestation in Brazil amid political uncertainty and weakening
Joe Leahy visits the so-called ‘Arc of Deforestation’, the
strip along the southern edge of the Amazon where the advances of agriculture,
logging and mining are eating into the rainforest.
The chief ranger in the Jamari National Forest tells Leahy:
“The arc of deforestation is a warzone. It has worsened in the past ten years.
And it will continue to get worse.”
Up to 95% of deforestation in the Amazon is illegal,
and 80 percent of deforested land ends up as cattle pasture, according to
environmental officials cited by Leahy.
Brazil is facing its greatest political uncertainty in
decades, emboldening so-called ruralistas, the politicians who represent
rural areas and the interests of the agriculture lobby.
A University of Brasilia academic who has studied the
relationship between political uncertainty and deforestation tells Leahy: “The
illegal actors in the Amazon can practically feel this fragility. And they make
the most of these moments, resulting in sudden spurts of deforestation.
“2018 and 2019 will be dangerous years indeed for the
Click here to
listen to the podcast.