Deforestation of Brazilian Amazon rises in September -satellite data

Forest fires in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil
Smoke billows from a fire in this aerial view showing a deforested plot of the Amazon rainforest in Rondonia State, Brazil September 28, 2021. Picture taken September 28, 2021. REUTERS/Adriano Machado

BRASILIA, Oct 8 (Reuters) - Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest rose slightly in September from a year ago, preliminary satellite data showed on Friday, as President Jair Bolsonaro struggles to deliver on a pledge to eliminate illegal forest clearing.

The data from national space research agency Inpe showed about 985 square kilometers (280 square miles) of forest were cleared last month, 2% more than in September 2020.

From January to September deforestation edged down less than 1% to about 7,011 square kilometers, an area almost nine times the size of New York City.

Brazil's Vice President Hamilton Mourao used old data on Friday to argue that his government was successfully combating deforestation.

He pointed to preliminary data showing deforestation fell 5% between August 2020 and July 2021, highlighting an improvement first reported in August. read more

Bolsonaro has been severely criticized by environmental activists and some world leaders for the rise in deforestation during his presidency to a level not seen in over a decade.

His calls for more farming and mining in the Amazon have emboldened illegal loggers and invaders of protected lands. read more

At a White House Earth Day summit and again at the U.N. General Assembly last month, Bolsonaro promised to end illegal deforestation in Brazil by 2030. read more

Reporting by Ricardo Brito in Brasilia and Stephen Eisenhammer in Sao Paulo Editing by Brad Haynes and John Stonestreet

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