The Xingu River Basin, one of the most biodiverse regions of the Brazilian Amazon, is reeling from an explosion of illegal deforestation that has coincided with the rise and presidency of far-right populist Jair Bolsonaro. According to a recent report by the Xingu+ Network, based on its Sirad deforestation monitoring system, between 2018 and 2020, loggers, land grabbers and illegal miners destroyed 513,500 hectares (1.27 million acres) of forest — an area six times larger than New York City. Sirad is a near-real-time deforestation radar monitoring system using a series of algorithms that process information from the Sentinel-1 satellite on the Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform, monitored by analysts from the Xingu+ Network. Experts have detected what they say is an alarming uptick of deforestation inside the 23 Indigenous reserves and nine protected forest areas that form a “green corridor” along the basin that straddles the states of Pará and Mato Grosso; the former is home to most of the recent destruction.   While much of the illegal activity inside these protected areas long predates the Bolsonaro era — logging and illegal mining inside the Cachoeira Seca and Kayapó Indigenous reserves, for example — experts interviewed by Mongabay said the sudden escalation from 2018 onward demonstrates a large increase in a historical sense of impunity in the region. “The increase of deforestation inside these protected areas clearly reflects the expectation that they may be reduced or reverted,” said Biviany Rojas, Xingu program coordinator at Brazil’s Socioenvironmental Institute (ISA). One of the…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer

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