Feb 8, 2020

Brazil's Amazon: Deforestation high in January despite rainy season

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest doubled in January compared with a year ago, reaching a five-year record for the month, officials say. Deforestation in the Amazon - a vital carbon store that slows down the pace of global warming - soared last year, the first of President Bolsonaro in office. On Wednesday, Mr Bolsonaro unveiled his project to open up protected indigenous reserves in the Amazon to activities including commercial mining and farming, a controversial plan that still needs to be approved by Congress. On Twitter, Joenia Wapichana, Brazil's sole indigenous congresswoman, said: "Mining on indigenous lands is illegal and unconstitutional... Mining only brings pollution and death. We don't want the deaths of rivers, the forest and indigenous peoples." Mr Bolsonaro named Ricardo Lopes Dias, a former missionary who worked with a group committed to opening churches on indigenous land, to head the office in charge of isolated indigenous tribes at the indigenous affairs agency, Funai.

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