Brazil\u0026#039;s space research agency revealed Friday that deforestation in the country\u0026#039;s Amazon rainforest last month shattered the previous record for April, a development one conservation campaigner called \u0022very scary\u0022 and an indication of the criminal level of environmental destruction occurring under the administration of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro.\r\n\r\n\u0022The Amazon is controlled by landowners, illegal loggers, and miners. Crime is the reality.\u0022\r\n\r\nThe National Institute for Space Research said nearly 400 square miles of the world\u0026#039;s largest rainforest was destroyed in Brazil last month, an area the size of 1,400 soccer fields and by far the biggest loss for April since record-keeping began in 2015, Agence France-Presse reports.\r\n\r\nIt is the third monthly record set in the past four months, and represents a nearly 75% increase in forest loss over last April.\r\n\r\n\u0022This figure is extremely high for this period of the year,\u0022 World Wide Fund for Nature (formerly World Wildlife Fund) science director Mariana Napolitano said in a statement. \u0022It\u0026#039;s an alert of the immense pressure the forest is under.\u0022\r\n\r\nSuely Araújo, senior public policy specialist at the Climate Observatory, a network of environmental groups, told the Associated Press that \u0022the April number is very scary. Due to the rain, it is traditionally a month with less deforestation.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022We need a regional development model that is compatible with environmental protection,\u0022 she added. \u0022The solution is not simply paving roads. The Amazon is controlled by landowners, illegal loggers, and miners. Crime is the reality.\u0022\r\n\r\nSince Bolsonaro, a self-described \u0022Captain Chainsaw,\u0022 took office in 2019, average annual Amazon forest loss has soared by more than 75% from the previous decade. Green and human rights groups accuse Bolsonaro—who early in his administration declared that \u0022the Amazon is open for business\u0022—of encouraging the illegal logging, mining, and clearance for farming and cattle grazing that is devastating the Amazon.\r\n\r\nMarcio Astrini, head of the Climate Observatory, told AFP that \u0022the Bolsonaro administration is abetting deforestation and environmental crime, and what we harvest are these terrible, scary, revolting numbers.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nLarissa Amorim, a researcher at the conservation group Imazon, says that \u0022to combat deforestation, it is necessary to intensify inspections, especially in the most critical areas,\u0022 and \u0022apply fines and embargo illegally deforested areas.\u0022\r\n\r\nHowever, according to a survey conducted by the monitoring platform MapBiomas in conjunction with the civil society group Instituto Centro de Vida and public data repository Brasil.IO, the government has failed to investigate 97% of deforestation alerts since 2019.\r\n\r\n\u0022The weakening of environmental inspection bodies is not by chance, it is a perverse project that has as one of the main results the prescription of environmental crimes without criminals being punished,\u0022 Greenpeace Brazil Amazon coordinator André Freitas said in a statement Friday.\r\n\r\n\u0022With the certainty of impunity, what is already bad will get worse if bills that aim to legalize land grabbing, make environmental licensing more flexible, and open Indigenous lands for mining are approved,\u0022 he added, referring to the so-called \u0022package of destruction\u0022 supported by Bolsonaro and currently making its way through the National Congress.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022It is necessary, once and for all,\u0022 Freitas added, \u0022to stop this mechanism that has been scrapping public agencies and invest in environmental inspection if we really want to keep the largest tropical forest in the world standing.\u0022\r\n\r\nDuring an appearance last month at the Free Land Camp—site of a 10-day protest by over 170 Indigenous groups—Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the former leftist Brazilian president who is seeking to oust Bolsonaro in this October\u0026#039;s election, vowed to immediately revoke the current government\u0026#039;s policies, to ban mining on Indigenous lands, and to create a Ministry of Indigenous Peoples if he wins.\r\n\r\nApril\u0026#039;s deforestation figures follow the publication in March of a study warning that the ability of the Amazon rainforest to recover from devastating droughts and wildfires has been declining over the past two decades, driving the crucial ecosystem toward a tipping point from which it might not recover.