President Jair Bolsonaro signed a decree Monday to dispatch Brazilian soldiers to the Amazon in a bid to curb surging deforestation, just two months after withdrawing troops from the region and days after his Environment Minister resigned.
The decree published in the country’s official gazette said soldiers would go to the states of Para, Amazonas, Mato Grosso and Rondonia through the end of August. It didn’t provide details about the number of troops to be deployed nor the cost of the operation.
Vice President Hamilton Mourão told reporters earlier this month that the deployment could be extended beyond two months with the arrival of the dry season, when people burn forest to clear land.
Amazon deforestation has been ticking upwards for several years, but surged since the 2018 election of Bolsonaro, who repeatedly called for development of the rainforest. The destruction has elicited an international outcry and, more recently, an effort by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration to urge Bolsonaro to get tough on illegal logging.