This year, destruction of the world's largest rainforest rose 9.5 per cent from 2019, to 11,088 square kilometers (2.7 million acres), according to data from Brazil's national space research agency, INPE.
The grim update came following indications earlier in the year that it would not be good news for the Amazon.
Cristiane Mazzetti, Greenpeace Brazil forests campaigner, said: “This was already expected. Instead of acting to prevent the increase in deforestation, the federal government has been denying the reality, dismantling the agencies, restraining and attacking NGOs work.
"Because of the government’s anti-environmental policies, deforestation in Brazil is almost three times higher than the target for 2020 set by the country’s National Policy on Climate Change.”
In September, INPE scientists revealed that official data had been miscalculated and the number of fires in Brazil’s Amazon had increased from 2019, putting them at the highest level in a decade.
The destruction has soared since President Jair Bolsonaro took office and weakened environmental enforcement. The Brazilian government press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment by The Independent.
Environmental advocates and scientists say that Mr Bolsonaro is to blame for calling for the development of the Amazon. He has been an enthusiastic ring-leader to miners, cattle ranchers and illegal loggers pushing into one of the planet's richest regions of biodiversity, and the home of thousands of indigenous peoples.
Mr Bolsonaro, a climate denier, insisted this summer that there were no fires in the Amazon rainforest, calling evidence produced by his own government showing thousands of blazes a “lie”.
In July, the Brazilian government instituted a three-month "moratorium" on fires in the Amazon following the deployment of troops earlier in the year to prevent blazes being started. The moves appear to have been ineffective.
INPE published a note on its website on 19 August that said there had been a problem with NASA’s Aqua satellite that generates the fire data and as a consequence the data had been incomplete since 16 August.
Reuters contributed to this report
This report has been updated
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