According to Brazil's national space research institute (INPE), around 360 square kilometers of forest were reported as destroyed in the Brazilian Amazon in less than 22 days of January.
Only with ten days to go in February, the data disclosed already an impoverished figure for Amazon, the worst for January since 2015, when the institute launched its DETER satellite monitoring program.
Environmentalists said that translated into a high risk that 2022 would be another devastating year for the Brazilian Amazon, where deforestation has surged since far-right President Jair Bolsonaro took office in 2019.
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"A number that high in January, which is the peak of the rainy season" -- when deforestation usually falls -- "certainly demands attention and leaves us extremely worried," said Claudio Angelo of the Climate Observatory, a network of environmental groups.
"We'll have to see how the coming months go, but it's not a good sign."
By comparison, deforestation for January 2021 was 83 square kilometers less than one-fourth of the figure for the first 21 days of January 2022.