Atlantic Forest: Bahia demolishes 49 soccer fields a day and leads deforestation in 2022

Atlantic Forest: Bahia demolishes 49 soccer fields a day and leads deforestation in 2022
Atlantic Forest: Bahia demolishes 49 soccer fields a day and leads deforestation in 2022

With Brazil breaking a deforestation record in recent years, Bahia managed to stand out and cut down 7,411.6 hectares of Atlantic Forest in the first six months of 2022, being the state that most deforested the biome in the country. This means that the Bahians deforested a little more than 49 soccer fields a day, being, with leftovers, the worst state in terms of maintenance of the Atlantic Forest. The data are from the third bulletin of the Deforestation Alert System (SAD) and were organized by the Bahia NewsBlog do Valente partner.

The municipality of Baianópolis, in the Rio Grande Basin, was the one that cut down the most Atlantic Forest vegetation in Brazil, in isolation. The city deforested 1,697 hectares of the biome in the first half of this year, around 2,056 soccer fields.

The coordinator of the Operational Support Center for the Environment and Urbanism (Ceama) and the Mata Atlântica Nucleus (Numa), Yuri Lopes de Mello, says that it is difficult to define the biome of western Bahia, and that the expansion of agribusiness increasing deforestation in the area.

“We have a hard time defining this Atlantic Forest in the west, because they are actually ‘stains’ of the Atlantic Forest. There are already court decisions that have defined that the vegetation in the region is not actually Atlantic Forest. The region is also the great agricultural frontier of Bahia, we have a problem of deforestation beyond the ‘stains’, it is very serious”, said Mello.

Showing that agribusiness and environmental preservation, perhaps, do not go so side by side, the agriculture sector was responsible for the deforestation of 90.6% of the Atlantic Forest in Bahia, according to data from the SAD Bulletin. 2.7% were due to urban sprawl, 0.2% to mining and the remaining percentage was categorized as other varied motivations.

“We have a very serious problem, which is the advancement of agriculture and livestock in the Bahian cerrado, much of which is legal. It’s a region [oeste] that has no industry, so the advance of deforestation must be because of that”, explained the coordinator of Ceama.

Mello also explained that the Atlantic Forest has specific legislation, which, in most cases, does not allow deforestation of the biome for agribusiness. The manager also criticized the Institute for the Environment and Water Resources (INEMA), which is one of the inspectors for the maintenance of the environmental reserve.

“The Atlantic Forest Protection Law prohibits the authorization of vegetation suppression for land use modification, which is basically agropastoral activity. In the Atlantic Forest, you can only be authorized for ‘public’ and ‘social’ activities, which are activities such as road construction, sanitary landfills, not agricultural activities,” said Mello.

“90% of the deforestation that is there is illegal, if it is Cerrado or Caatinga, then you can give the authorization to suppress native vegetation, as long as you preserve the legal reserve, which is 20%. In the case of the Atlantic Forest, there will rarely be this suppression authorization. Inema’s performance is not so efficient, being considered even in recent research”, completed the Numa coordinator.

Compared to the same period last year, Bahians reduced deforestation in the Atlantic Forest by approximately 41%. In the first six months of 2021, Bahia had cleared 12,553 hectares of the biome, the equivalent of deforestation of 82 football fields per day.

Brazil, in general, deforested 21,302 hectares, a decrease of 10.67% compared to the first half of last year. Deforestation in the country corresponds to the emission of more than 10.2 million tons of CO2 equivalent, a measure used to calculate greenhouse gas emissions.

Behind Bahia, the states that most deforested the Atlantic Forest in the first half of the year were: Minas Gerais (5,535 ha), Paraná (1,607 ha), Piauí (1,364 ha), Santa Catarina (1,350 ha).

Deforestation and politics in Bahia

Of the 37 deputies from Bahia analyzed, 24 presented a “poor” performance on issues related to the environment, according to data from Ruralómetro. Bahia is also the state with the highest number of deputies involved in environmental infractions, with five representatives.

In addition, the state of Bahia is the fourth with the highest number of deputies who are members of the ruralist bench, with 16 members, according to the official website of the Agricultural Parliamentary Front.

Source: Bahia News

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