Deforestation in the Amazon destroyed an area bigger than Spain from 2000 to 2018, wiping out eight percent of the world’s largest rainforest, according to a study released Tuesday.
The Amazon plays a vital role in curbing climate change, but destruction of the rainforest has only accelerated in recent years, found the study by the Amazon Geo-Referenced Socio-Environmental Information Network (RAISG).
Since the turn of the millennium, 513,016 square kilometers (198,077 square miles) of the rainforest have been lost, according to the updated Amazon atlas produced by the organization, a consortium of groups from across the region.
It is RAISG’s first such atlas since 2012.
“The Amazon is far more threatened than it was eight years ago,” RAISG said in a statement.
The consortium found that after making gains against deforestation early in the century, the Amazon region has again slipped into a worrying cycle of destruction.