Brazil’s Rollbacks Jeopardize the Amazon’s Future

Deforestation in Brazil is at a nine-year high. President Michel Temer’s political horse trading could make it worse.

Brazilian forests are being felled at the fastest rate in nearly a decade, with the rate of deforestation jumping 29 percent since 2015 and 75 percent since 2012, according to satellite monitoring.

Instead of bolstering the protections that helped Brazil reduce deforestation rates last decade, the Temer administration is bartering the forests’ future for political support from the powerful congressional bloc that represent the country’s big farmers, cattle ranchers, land speculators, loggers, and mining companies – the ruralistas.

It’s a dangerous, short-sighted gamble, trading short-term political gain for long-term forest health – and one from which the Amazon may not recover.