deforestationRecent satellite data figures released by the nonprofit Imazon indicate that the deforestation of the Amazon has rapidly accelerated over the past two months. 

The data indicates a 190 percent increase in land clearance since August and September of 2014 as compared with figures from the same period last year. While Brazil had made tremendous gains in stopping deforestation during the start of the 21st century, by 2013, the country’s efforts began to show increasingly diminished returns. According to the Guardian, deforestation rose 29 percent in 2013, putting these latest findings in the context of increasing environmental compromises under Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.

The Guardian previously reported on Rousseff’s increasing practice of creating alliances with agribusiness corporations, resulting in significant blows to Brazil’s forest code. Farmers and loggers had been able to evade detection by regulators by clearing forests in segments smaller than 25 hectares. This made these logging efforts small enough to evade detection by Brazil’s DETER satellite until very recently.

As a result, very little emphasis has been placed on the Amazon and environmental regulations in the upcoming Brazilian elections, more organizations are speaking out on the country’s recent environmental failings. Roberto Smeraldi, the director of Friends of the Earth, recently said in a statement (as translated by the Guardian), “It’s time to realize that current investments in the Amazon do not promote development, and deforestation is impeding development. Based on this, you need to design and implement a regional development policy based on diversity of the territory.”

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