Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon witnessed a decline of at least 60% in July, compared to last year.

Brazilian Environment Minister Marina Silva disclosed the news regarding the state of the Brazilian Amazon ahead of a regional summit focused on averting a calamitous tipping point in South America’s largest biome.

The statistics were obtained through the Deter satellite alert system, a tool for monitoring deforestation in the Amazon. The exact percentage is yet to be officially released. Some experts suggest that this decline in deforestation could mark the most significant improvement since 2005.

The Brazilian Amazon is also known as the “lungs of the Earth”. It plays a pivotal role in maintaining global biodiversity and regulating the climate.

Under the previous far-right administration of Jair Bolsonaro, the Amazon experienced one of the most damaging cutting and burning seasons in recent history. The policies and practices during that time raised global concerns and sparked protests from environmental activists worldwide.

The decrease in deforestation indicates a potential shift in priorities, signalling a commitment to protecting this invaluable natural resource.

Ever since Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva assumed office at the beginning of the year, Brazil has witnessed a shift in its approach towards combating deforestation in the Amazon. The administration took decisive action against land grabbers and illegal miners who contribute to deforestation in the region. Paramilitary operations have been conducted to remove these encroachers and protect the Amazon’s delicate ecosystem. The demarcation of indigenous land has also been increased, recognising the rights of indigenous communities and enabling them to play a more active role in safeguarding their territories.

The government has also established more conservation areas, providing protected spaces for the region’s unique biodiversity to flourish.

The upcoming Amazon summit in Belém, scheduled for 8-9 August, aims to further strengthen regional cooperation among eight rainforest nations including Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, and Suriname. The positive results of reduced deforestation in Brazil are expected to support and validate President Lula, Environment Minister Marina Silva, and other Brazilian hosts of the summit.

Environment Minister Marina Silva has put forth several proposals to guide the summit’s agenda. Her vision includes each country developing a comprehensive action plan to address the unique challenges faced in their respective territories within the Amazon. This approach recognises the diversity of issues at play and acknowledges that tailored solutions are vital for effective conservation efforts.

Silva also advocates for the establishment of a joint scientific panel, which would facilitate constant monitoring and dissemination of the latest data on the Amazon’s ecological status.