The deforestation of rainforests in Brazil's Amazon surged to record levels last month, nearly doubling the area of forest removed in April of last year.
The National Institute for Space Research shows deforestation in the Amazon totaling 390 square miles in just one month. Deforestation in the Amazon has soared since Brazil’s government weakened environmental protection, allowing for more mining and farming in the area.
Even with deforestation already on the rise, the Climate Observatory said its analysts were astounded by such a high reading in April, which is part of the rainy season when the muddy forest is harder for loggers to access.
Preservation of the Amazon is vital to stopping catastrophic climate change because of the vast amount of climate-warming carbon dioxide it absorbs. But now scientists say it’s actually emitting more carbon than it absorbs because of fires intentionally set to clear the land for agriculture.