Amazon rainforest ‘losing football pitch-sized area of trees every minute’

The rate at which trees are being chopped down has sharply accelerated since right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro came into power

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The Amazon rainforest is losing a football pitch-sized area of trees every minute.

A senior Brazilian Government official told the BBC about the staggering rate of deforestation and reportedly noted the rate at which trees are being chopped down has sharply accelerated since the country’s new right-wing president came into power.

Jair Bolsonaro became President of Brazil at the start of the year – as the leader of the country that owns most of the Amazon region, his policies have a significant impact on the rainforest.

However, he is said to generally favour development over conservation and he has already overturned many of the regulations and fines introduced by Brazil’s previous governments to reduce deforestation.

Satellite data shows during the past two months, an average of roughly a hectare has been cleared every minute.

This has far-reaching effects on a global scale – as the largest rainforest in the world, the Amazon stores a vast amount of carbon, absorbing it from the atmosphere as part of photosynthesis and helping prevent the acceleration of antropogenic climate change.

It also provides a habitat for nearly a tenth of all species of plants and animals on the planet, as well as a home for around a million people living in indigenous communities.

The culprits of deforestation are generally either loggers hunting for valuable trees or developers of palm oil plantations and cattle farms.

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