By Bala Chambers
BUENOS AIRES (AA) - Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) announced Wednesday that deforestation levels in the Brazilian Amazon fell 11%.
The data, released by the agency in its annual report, was collected through its Project for Monitoring Deforestation in the Legal Amazon by Satellite (Prodes) which uses a satellite monitoring system that maps deforested areas.
The report said 11,568 square kilometers were deforested during the Aug. 1, 2021 to July 31, 2022 period, down 11.27% compared with figures from the previous corresponding period, when 13,038 square kilometers were deforested.
INPE recorded deforestation across the Brazilian states of Acre, Amazonas, Amapá, Maranhão, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima and Tocantins.
The highest level of deforestation occurred in the state of Para - with 4,141 square kilometers recorded.
According to Brazilian news outlet G1, the latest Amazon deforestation levels recorded equate to the size of Qatar.
Brazil's President-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has vowed to protect the Amazon rainforest from deforestation.
Speaking at the UN climate change conference COP27 in Egypt on Nov. 17, Lula pledged to strengthen Brazil's inspection bodies and monitoring systems.
Environmental defenders have criticized the policies of outgoing President Jair Bolsonaro, who they said has rolled back protections, causing ecological destruction.
“The past four years have been marked by the Bolsonaro government’s anti-environment and anti-Indigenous agenda, and by the irreparable damage caused to the Amazon, biodiversity, and to the rights and lives of Indigenous People and Traditional Communities,” André Freitas, Amazon Campaign Coordinator for Greenpeace Brazil, said on the environmental organization’s website.
In his statement, Freitas said that Brazil's new government must "have a robust plan to control deforestation and fight mining and land grabbing by resuming the creation of protected areas, respecting the rights of Indigenous Peoples and holding those responsible for environmental crimes accountable."
Freitas pushed for the new government to promote "an ecological transition that establishes a predominant economy in the Amazon that can live with the forest standing and that brings real, just development to the region."