Regarding the Aug. 6 editorial “Leading in the opposite direction”:
The Brazilian Amazon is a national treasure that needs to be both preserved and developed for the benefit of all Brazilians, including the 25 million inhabitants of the Amazon region. A significant effort is being made by the government of President Jair Bolsonaro to adequately fund the Ministry of Environment, whose budgetary cuts in 2019 were much lower than those imposed on other ministries. The measure was not policy-oriented and was, in fact, the result of one of the most severe fiscal crises in Brazilian history, inherited from previous administrations.
The Bolsonaro government remains seriously engaged in combating deforestation in the Amazon. That task entails monitoring an area of almost 2 million square miles, more than half the size of the United States. Recently, the Ministry of Environment has identified lapses in the monitoring made by the Deter satellite system, in which areas deforested in 2018 were spotted only nine months later. This distorts the statistical data, making it harder for the Brazilian authorities to curb illegal logging.
Most important, the Deter system data is an alert system developed to provide support to surveillance efforts and should not be assumed as a precise measurement of deforestation. For these reasons, Brazil is developing a new system, with higher-resolution satellite information and real-time monitoring that will provide greater accuracy and contribute to law enforcement efforts in the Amazon.
Nestor Forster Jr., Washington
The writer is the chargé d’affaires for the Embassy of Brazil.