People, Environment

Brazil Fires Deforestation “Sheriff”

Brazil Fires Deforestation “Sheriff”Brazil Fires Deforestation “Sheriff”

A little more than a year after being named Brazil’s deforestation “sheriff”, Thelma Krug has reportedly been fired after a dispute over how trends in forest destruction are monitored in the country.

According to Climate Home’s Claudio Angelo, government officials told reporters that Krug had “expressed her interest in leaving” in order to spend more time at the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Mongabay reported.

But Angelo writes: “Sources say, however, that the removal happened after a row with vice minister Marcelo Cruz who questioned the deforestation data produced by the National Institute for Space Research [INPE], where Krug is a senior scientist.”

Krug is also a well-respected climate scientist who serves as a vice chair of IPCC and will apparently be staying on in her other role at INPE.

The firing comes as the deforestation rate in Brazil is on the rise once again after a decade of sharp declines. Last year, numbers released by INPE revealed that deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest had jumped 29% over the previous year, making 2015-16 the year with the highest level of Amazon destruction since 2008.

The rate of primary forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon last year was 75% higher than it was in 2012 when deforestation was at the lowest level measured since annual record-keeping began in 1988.

Weakened environmental regulations, dry conditions and Brazil’s ongoing economic slump are some of the chief factors contributing to the rising rate of deforestation in the country.

Even as the rate of forest loss has risen in the Brazilian Amazon, the country’s official monitoring system has been subject to increasing criticism for failing to measure new drivers of forest destruction.

An October 2016 study, for instance, found that Brazil’s Monitoring Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon by Satellite Project, commonly referred to as PRODES, did not detect nearly 9,000 square kilometers of rainforest that were cleared between 2008 and 2012—a deforested area roughly the size of Puerto Rico.

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