(Brasilia) Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rose again in March, making the first 100 days of the Lula government one of the worst first quarters on record, according to official figures released Friday.

The National Institute for Space Research (INPE) satellite monitoring device has detected 356 square kilometers of forest cover destroyed in a month in the Brazilian part of the world’s largest rainforest.

An increase of 14% compared to March 2022, the last year of the government of Jair Bolsonaro (2019-2022) who proclaimed himself “Chainsaw Captain”.

Over the period January to March, the destruction of the Brazilian Amazon is the second largest in history, with 844 km2 destroyed, just behind 2022 (941 km2).

Hopes were high after Luiz Inacio “Lula” da Silva came to power on January 1 that the Amazon deforestation curve would reverse. But after years of impunity for those destroying the forest, the problem is too entrenched to be solved quickly, experts say.

“The data shows that there is a complex scenario in the face of the weakening of control in the region and the pro-illegal discourse of recent years,” Mariana Napolitano, conservation manager for the NGO WWF, told AFP. -Brazil.

“Although the current government has demonstrated its intention to fight deforestation very seriously, it will take time to change the scenario,” she said.

From the first day of his mandate, Lula had signed a host of decrees, creating an interministerial task force on deforestation and reactivating the Amazon Fund, an initiative financed by foreign donations but suspended under the Bolsonaro government.

The Lula government faces a dilemma: it needs funding to reduce deforestation, but first and foremost it needs to reduce deforestation to build trust and attract funding.