Deforestation of Brazil's Amazon rainforest up 34% on year

The deforestation of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest was worse than previously thought.

Revised data from Brazil's space research agency INPE on Tuesday showed, there were nearly four thousand square miles of deforestation in the Amazon from August 2018 thru July 2019 - a rise of 34% from the same period a year earlier.

The revision is higher than INPE's initial report of forest destroyed.

The 2019 data remains the highest level of deforestation seen in Brazil's Amazon since 2008.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro - in office since January 2019 - has urged the development of the Amazon, including protected areas, as a way to lift the region's poor residents out of poverty.

Environmental advocates and scientific researchers blame Bolsonaro's policies for emboldening illegal loggers, ranchers and land speculators to clear the forest.

Brazil is home to roughly 60% of the Amazon.

Scientists say the protection of the Amazon is vital to curbing climate change because of the vast amount of carbon dioxide it absorbs.

Monthly data shows that deforestation has continued to worsen in 2020, rising 55% for January to April, as compared to the same period in 2019.

Bolsonaro has tried to combat the rising deforestation problem by deploying the armed forces, utilizing a decree that expires Wednesday.

Officials say they expect that decree to be renewed for another 30 days.