The Amazon is the world’s largest tropical rainforest and an enormous carbon sink. There is widespread concern that its destruction will not only release massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere, further complicating hopes of arresting climate change, but also push it past a tipping point after which much of the forest will begin an irreversible process of degradation into tropical savannah.

Deforestation detected in the Brazilian Amazon broke all records for the month of April, and that followed similar new records set in January and February, reflecting a worrisome uptick in destruction in a state deep within the rainforest, the AP reports.

Satellite alerts of deforestation for April corresponded to more than 1,000 square kilometers (nearly 400 square miles), the highest figure for that month in seven years of record-keeping and 74% more than the same month in 2021, which was the prior record.

It marked the first time that deforestation alerts have surpassed 1,000 square kilometers during a month in the rainy season, which runs from December to April.

“The April number is very scary. Due to the rain, it is traditionally a month with less deforestation,” Suely Araújo, senior public policy specialist at the Climate Observatory, a network of environmental groups, told The Associated Press.

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