Amazon fire hotspots at 15 year high for June

Manaus, 01 July 2022 – Official data published today by the Brazilian Space Agency INPE shows 2,562 fire hotspots have been recorded in the Amazon during the month of June, the highest level since 2007 [1]. The fire hotspots in the Amazon typically result from the burning of felled rainforest for agriculture, including the clearance for cattle pasture, or crops for animal feed.

This month’s fire hotspots follow soaring rates of deforestation throughout the first half of 2022 [2]. And experts are anticipating continued high numbers of fires in 2022 as the dry season starts in the Amazon rainforest, and because deforestation typically spikes during election years.

Cristiane Mazzetti, spokesperson for Greenpeace Brazil, said:
“Agribusiness is hitting new records for forest destruction as the dry season arrives in the Amazon. Illegal burnings and deforestation have accelerated over the last three years as a direct result of the Brazilian government’s anti-environmental agenda. If this trend does not change we will approach the tipping point of no return in which the Amazon could fail as a rainforest.”

Since Jair Bolsonaro took office, his government has been dismantling environmental protections and law enforcement. As a result, the Amazon has also become a more dangerous place for Environmental and Human Rights Defenders. In June, Brazilian Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira and UK journalist Dom Philips were found dead in the forest, murdered for doing the vital work of investigating the threats to Indigenous Peoples and the Amazon.

In the meantime, the UK is continuing to import more than 3 million tonnes of soya every year, much of it from South America, with 90% of it used as animal feed for meat and dairy.

Elena Polisano, Senior food and forests campaigner at Greenpeace UK said:
“Boris Johnson may have grasped this week that using cropland for biofuels instead of food was a waste, but he’s still ignoring the elephant in the room. Meat production at current scales – far more than we need – not only wastes vast amounts of land in the UK, it’s seeing climate-critical forests in Brazil slashed and burned to grow feed for British chicken and pork.

“For the UK to play its part in ending the climate, food and nature crises, the government must step up to the plate and accept that significant cuts to meat and dairy are essential over the next decade. To enable it, UK farmers must be fully supported to transition to producing food more sustainably in the long term and the import of animal feed that drives deforestation must be banned.”