Destruction of the Brazilian Amazon accelerated this year to levels unseen since 2006, despite promises by the Jair Bolsonaro administration to end illegal deforestation.

More than 13,000 square kilometers (5,019 square miles) of forest, or an area nearly the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut, was lost between August 2020 and July 2021, according to a preliminary estimate by the National Institute of Spacial Research, or Inpe, which oversees the area using satellites.

The data, which shows deforestation jumped nearly 22% from the previous year, was published late on Thursday, just a few days after Brazil’s Environment Minister Joaquim Leite blasted rich countries at the COP26 summit for spending too little to help the developing world protect the environment. 

Inpe data show the destruction of the rainforest has been accelerating since Bolsonaro took office with promises to open the Amazon to mining, farming and other development projects. It coincides with the defunding of environmental agencies and the suspension of fines for crimes against the environment. 

After the numbers were released, Leite announced measures to protect the forest, including the expansion of the so-called Guardians of the Biome operation that fights deforestation.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text.

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