Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

There are less than 72 hours left in this Mid-Year Campaign and our independent journalism needs your help today.
If you value our work, please support Common Dreams. This is our hour of need.

Join the small group of generous readers who donate, keeping Common Dreams free for millions of people each year. Without your help, we won’t survive.


A fire burns in the Amazon rainforest. (Photo: Getty Images/Brasil2)

Amazon Deforestation Hit Record High in February—Up 62% From 2021

"This absurd increase shows the lack of policies to combat deforestation and environmental crimes in the Amazon, driven by the current administration," said a Greenpeace campaigner. "The destruction just isn't stopping."

Jenna McGuire

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon reached a record high for the month of February, jumping by nearly two-thirds over last February's level, according to official data released Friday.

"We are going to be eating the rainforest in our burgers."

Satellite images released by the Brazilian space agency INPE's DETER monitoring program show 199 square kilometers (77 square miles) of the Amazon rainforest was lost to deforestation last month—the highest rate recorded in February since the agency began keeping records in 2015 and a 62% increase from last year during the same month.

Environmentalists find the data particularly alarming since February is considered the rainy season in the Amazon and generally sees the lowest rates of deforestation throughout the year.

As Indigenous communities and global environmentalists have been sounding the alarm on the imperiled rainforest, deforestation has skyrocketed under Brazil's right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro. While the Amazon covers land in nine countries, approximately 60% of the forest lies in Brazil, which has reached its highest level of deforestation in more than a decade.

"This absurd increase shows the lack of policies to combat deforestation and environmental crimes in the Amazon, driven by the current administration. The destruction just isn't stopping," said Romulo Batista of Greenpeace Brazil in a statement.

Deforestation is predominantly caused by animal agriculture, soy production, logging, mining, and major construction, and has greatly impacted the nearly one million Indigenous people from over 300 tribes who live in the Brazilian Amazon.

"We are going to be eating the rainforest in our burgers," Holly Gibbs, a land use scientist at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, told the Washington Post. "This is our moment as Americans to step forward and leverage some pressure to save the world, by helping to save the Amazon, which is critically important for the future of our planet."

Research published this week in the journal Nature Climate Change found that the world's largest rainforest was quickly reaching its "tipping point" and that the Amazon "has been losing resilience since the early 2000s, risking dieback with profound implications for biodiversity, carbon storage, and climate change at a global scale."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

Just a few days left in our crucial Mid-Year Campaign and we might not make it without your help.
Who funds our independent journalism? Readers like you who believe in our mission: To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. No corporate advertisers. No billionaire founder. Our non-partisan, nonprofit media model has only one source of revenue: The people who read and value this work and our mission. That's it.
And the model is simple: If everyone just gives whatever amount they can afford and think is reasonable—$3, $9, $29, or more—we can continue. If not enough do, we go dark.

All the small gifts add up to something otherwise impossible. Please join us today. Donate to Common Dreams. This is crunch time. We need you now.

Markey, Bowman Join Climate Coalition in Urging SCOTUS Expansion

"We cannot sit idly by," said Markey, "as extremists on the Supreme Court eviscerate the authorities that the government has had for decades to combat climate change and reduce pollution."

Brett Wilkins ·

Ocasio-Cortez Says US 'Witnessing a Judicial Coup in Process'

"It is our duty to check the Court's gross overreach of power in violating people's inalienable rights and seizing for itself the powers of Congress and the president."

Brett Wilkins ·

Critics Say Biden Drilling Bonanza 'Won't Lower Gas Prices' But 'Will Worsen Climate Crisis'

"President Biden's massive public lands giveaway in the face of utter climate catastrophe is just the latest sign that his climate commitments are mere rhetoric," said one campaigner.

Kenny Stancil ·

Grave Warnings as Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Case That Threatens 'Future of Voting Rights'

"Buckle up," implores one prominent legal scholar. "An extreme decision here could fundamentally alter the balance of power in setting election rules in the states and provide a path for great threats to elections."

Brett Wilkins ·

Biden Urged to Take Emergency Action After 'Disastrous' Climate Ruling by Supreme Court

"The catastrophic impact of this decision cannot be understated," said Rep. Pramila Jayapal, but "we cannot accept defeat."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo