The Cerrado savanna biome recorded the highest rate of deforestation since 2015, according to data from the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe). According to a technical note from the institute, released on December 31, there was a 7.9% increase in the suppression of native vegetation from August 2020 to July 2021, the official period for measuring annual deforestation from the PRODES system, adding up to 8,531.44 km2.
Historically, the biome suffers from the advance of agribusiness and cattle ranching and had many conflicts over land and water, between landowners and local farmers, ribeirinhos, quilombolas and fishermen, a problem intensified with the election of Jair Bolsonaro as president in 2019.
Of the total deforested area, 61.3% (5227.32 km²) was concentrated in the region known as Matopiba, an agricultural frontier that encompasses part of the states of Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia, indicates an analysis by the Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM). Ane Alencar, science director of IPAM, says that the data needs to be taken seriously. “This region needs a special look at the conflicts that have become more acute because of this conversion [of native vegetation for agriculture and cattle raising]. The increase in deforestation in the Cerrado shows that the lack of environmental governance and the resulting socio-environmental conflicts are not prerogative of the Amazon alone”.
When heard by Reuters, the researcher stated that the increase in deforestation in the biome registered in 2021 is a reflection of the government’s stance towards the problem. “Deforestation is the most bare indicator of the terrible environmental policy that this government has had,” she concluded.Sources
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