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Deforested areas near the Juruena National Park in Brazil, March 23, 2017 (DPA photo by Isaac Risco-Rodriguez via AP Images).

Trump’s Trade War Was Bad Enough for Brazil’s Amazon. Then Came Bolsonaro

Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018

From 2004 to 2012, the rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon dropped more than 80 percent, even as Brazil’s agricultural production continued to grow. But that progress in protecting a fragile and essential ecosystem reversed in recent years, before the outlook got even worse.

First, U.S. President Donald Trump launched a trade war with China, shifting more Chinese demand for soybean products from the United States to Brazil, potentially leading to more deforestation to meet the demands of Brazilian agriculture. Then, last month Brazilians elected the far-right Jair Bolsonaro as president, a major supporter of agribusiness who has vowed to put economic growth over environmental protection. That combination could mean a surge in deforestation in the Amazon with serious implications not just for the Brazilians most directly affected, but for the wider world. ...

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