Light Wave


Amazon Deforestation Plummets 66% Following Lula’s Crackdown on Loggers, Miners, Land‑Grabbers

By Belal Awad · August 8, 2023

In brief…

  • Deforestation in Brazilian Amazon fell 66% in July.
  • The Amazon rainforest is the most biologically diverse region of the world.
  • Reversing his predecessor's policies, Lalu is cracking down on land-grabbers, loggers and miners.
  • Lalu is also expanding protected areas of the Amazon.
  • The Brazilian president has vowed to eliminate Amazon deforestation by 2030.
Brazil President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva meets with Indigenous leaders during closing session of the Amazon Technical-Scientific Meeting.  Claudio Kbene,PR/Wikimedia

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon region fell by a whopping 66% in July, marking a major eco-victory for the nation’s president, Lula da Silva. July typically marks the start of peak deforestation season in the Amazon with the onset of drier weather.

Since taking office in January, Lula de Silva has moved aggressively to reverse his predecessor Jair Bolsonaro’s laissez-faire environmental policies. He has introduced tough measures against the practice known as land grabbing, where speculators take control of unallocated public rain forest, clear it, burn it, and then sell it for high profit. He has deployed paramilitary units to drive out illegal miners and loggers, while expanding protected areas of the Amazon.

Brazil Environment Minister Marina Silva, said publicly, “When you see the increase in [paramilitary] operations - when you see the removal of cattle from conservation units that have been embargoed after there is a court decision - this creates a virtuous circle of [loggers and land grabbers] no longer expecting impunity.”

Lula set the new tone in his inauguration speech, saying, “The world expects Brazil to once again become a leader in tackling the climate crisis as an example of a socially and environmentally responsible country.” He vowed to “eliminate deforestation in the Amazon by 2030”.

While Brazil remains far from achieving its ambitious zero deforestation target, last month’s dramatic drop in the deforestation rate is promising.

The Amazon rainforest is the most biologically diverse region of the world. Its 400 billion trees collectively absorb an estimated 2 billion tons of CO2 per year, equal to 5% of global emissions.

The latest deforestation numbers will strengthen Lula’s hand and raise his profile at this week’s Amazon Regional Summit, where the Brazilian leader will seek concrete commitments from other rainforest nations to protect the embattled Amazon forest.