RIO DE JANEIRO: Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon in November surged by 104 percent compared to the same month in 2018, according to official data released Saturday.

The 563 square kilometres deforested that month is also the highest number for any November since 2015, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), which provides official data on deforestation.

That is considered a significant increase, particularly during the rainy season, when deforestation generally slows.

AERIAL view of deforestation in the Western Amazon region of Brazil in this file photo taken on September 22, 2017. Photo: AFP

For the first 11 months of the year — also the first months in office of Jair Bolsonaro, a far-right leader who has eased restrictions on exploiting the Amazon’s vast riches — deforestation totalled 8,974.3 square kilometres.

That is nearly twice the 4,878.7 square kilometres reported for the first 11 months of 2018.

The data was collected by the satellite-based Deter system, which monitors deforestation in real time. Another satellite-based system used by the Inpe known as Prodes, considered more reliable but slower to compile data, reported in late November that in the 12 months beginning August 2018, deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon had passed the 10,000 square kilometre threshold for the first time since 2008.

That represented a 43 percent increase from the preceding 12-month period. Deforestation in indigenous areas rose even faster, by 74.5 percent from the preceding period, Inpe reported. – AFP