Campaigners against rainforest destruction can afford a brief moment of satisfaction thanks to recent satellite images released in November. The photos of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest showed that its destruction had slowed to the lowest level since the monitoring work began. The satellite showed that between August 2011 to July 2012, just under 1800 square miles in the Amazon were destroyed, according to the Brazilian Government’s environment minister, Izabella Teixeira.
Although the figure is still too high for campaigners, it is still 27% lower than the previous year’s figure of just under 2,480 square miles.
The Brazilian National Institute for Space Research also said that the Amazon’s rate of deforestation had reached its lowest level since the organisation began capturing its measurements in 1988. The institute said that these figures have also suggested that Brazil is already close to its 2020 target, to reduce deforestation rates by 80%, from its 1990 recorded levels. The government have attributed this success down to improvements in surveillance technologies designed to record illegal activities and a tighter enforcement of its environmental laws.
The mighty Amazon comprises over 50% of the world’s remaining rainforest mass and in addition to being the largest in the world, it’s also the most species-rich. Brazil is home to 63% of the rainforest, which stands at an awe-inspiring 2.4m square miles.
However, those involved in protecting the rainforest, from charities to the Brazilian and world governments, have agreed that there is still a great deal of work to be done in preventing rainforest deforestation, in terms of raising consumer awareness and educating the next generation to make more environmentally-friendly decisions, tightening up laws, finding more sustainable agriculture and manufacturing methods and promoting holistic businesses that preserve, rather than damage the land.