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Brazilian Atlantic Forest Faces Danger

Jul 29, 2022 06:30AM ● By Rachael Oppy
Mata Atlantica Forest

Marcio Isensee e Sá/AdobeStock.com

The enormous green blob of Amazon rainforest that dominates Brazil’s interior known as the “lungs of the world” has become a familiar topic of preservation. But there is another important region along the coast, the Mata Atlantica, that is fighting for its life against overdevelopment, where deforestation surged 66 percent last year. A report from SOS Mata Atlantica documents the loss of 53,479 acres of forest cover from November 2020 to October 2021, up two-thirds from the previous year based on satellite monitoring data, releasing around 11 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

SOS spokesman Luis Guedes Pinto says, “We weren’t expecting such a huge increase. We thought the Atlantic forest would be a bit more immune to the explosion of deforestation (in other parts of Brazil) as a region with more governance and policing.” Critics cite the government undermining environmental protection programs to benefit agribusiness. Since 2019, average annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon overall has increased by 75 percent from the previous decade, according to official figures. “Research shows the Atlantic forest is one of the biomes that will have to be urgently restored if we are to reach the goal of holding global warming to 1.5 degrees C in line with the Paris climate accord,” says Pinto.

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