Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, near Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas, Brazil. Photo by Neil Palmer/CIAT If you use one of our photos, please credit it accordingly and let us know. You can reach us through our Flickr account or at: and

Raging Fires and the Destruction of the Amazon

Fires raging in the Amazon have captured the world’s attention and put focus on the policies of the Brazilian government.

The true extent of the fires is not yet known–but most sources suggest that the scale of the fires and deforestation underway is much greater than that of previous years. The reason: permissive policies of the Jair Bolsonaro government.

Bolsonaro is a rightwing firebrand who was elected to office in 2018 following major scandals implicating more left wing parties. As my guest today Rebecca Abers explains, once in office Bolsonaro quickly enacted policies that reversed years of progress against forestation of the Amazon.

Rebecca Abers is professor of political science at the University of Brasilia in Brazil. And in this conversation, she describes the bureaucratic maneuvers engineered by Bolsonaro to undermine protections against de-forestation. We also discuss how and why international pressure, including an upcoming major UN Summit on Climate Change, is impacting domestic politics in Brazil and forcing Bolsonaro to more productively combat de-forestation.


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