This micro-site aggregates data on deforestation in the Amazon from several sources. The most timely data comes from Brazil: specifically Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and Imazon, a Brazilian NGO.
Narrative context on these issues can be found at Mongabay’s Amazon rainforest section as well as Mongabay’s regular news reporting on the Amazon in English, Brazilian Portuguese, and Spanish. Recent headlines from these sites can be found at the bottom of this page.
This site is organized into sections:
- Brazilian Amazon: Monthly deforestation
- Brazilian Amazon: Monthly land use change
- Brazilian Amazon: Fires
Monthly deforestation charts – late update Jan 15, 2020
As COVID-19 rages, evangelical pastor may contact remote Amazon tribes
on March 30, 2020 at 4:47 pm
- U.S. Christian Baptist evangelical missionary Andrew Tonkin, from Frontier International, is allegedly planning to contact and convert isolated indigenous groups in the Javari Indigenous Reserve in western Amazonas state, Brazil — an accusation Tonkin denies. Ethnos360, another evangelical group has similar plans.- Missionary work among isolated indigenous peoples is currently banned by FUNAI, Brazil’s indigenous agency. Marubo and Mayoruna indigenous leaders made the accusation against Tonkin, who has invaded the Javari Reserve, flaunting FUNAI regulations, in the past.- Brazil’s independent federal prosecutor’s office (MPF) has asked federal police to investigate Tonkin’s alleged plan of an illegal expedition to an area known as Igarapé Lambança, populated by isolated Korubo tribespeople. However, it is as yet unknown what action the federal police will take.- The risk of evangelicals unknowingly spreading coronavirus is just one threat to Javari Reserve inhabitants. Major invasions by traffickers, illegal miners and loggers, along with an upswing in violence are well underway there, while President Jair Bolsonaro continues planning to open indigenous reserves to large-scale mining.
BR-319 illegal side road threatens Amazon protected area, indigenous land (commentary)
on March 27, 2020 at 3:44 pm
- Brazil faces a critical decision on licensing Highway BR-319, in the Purus / Madeira river basins of Amazonas state, which would “chop the Amazon rainforest in half.”- The highway would bring deforesters to vast areas of intact Amazon rainforest. Protected areas along the route have been created to avert spread of deforestation.- However, an illegal side road is already being built connecting with the BR-319, and accessing one of those protected areas, while also threatening indigenous and traditional riverine communities.- The construction of this illegal road dramatizes the fiction that governance measures would control on-the-ground events if the completed highway is licensed. This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily Mongabay.
First possible COVID-19 indigenous cases detected near key Amazon reserve
on March 25, 2020 at 11:39 am
- It is widely suspected that Brazil’s indigenous people will be very vulnerable to COVID-19, as they have shown little resistance to Western respiratory illnesses in the past. Isolated indigenous groups, lacking all healthcare support, would be particularly defenseless.- UPDATE: After this story was first published, the city of Atalaia do Norte claimed that an indigenous Marubo man, suspected of coronavirus infection, tested negative for COVID-19. However, a journalist double-checking the facts found that no test was ever analyzed; when confronted, the city claimed a “communication mistake.”- On 13 March, FUNAI potentially opened a new route for disease spread as it weakened its “no contact” isolated indigenous group rule, broadening sole decision-making power for contact from its central authority to 39 regional coordinators. Outcry quickly caused FUNAI to reverse itself, reinstating the “no contact” policy.- Experts are very concerned about the indigenous harm coronavirus could cause, especially due to Jair Bolsonaro’s weakening of the rural public health service. Some analysts worry the health and social chaos COVID-19 would bring could cause ruralists and land grabbers to exploit the situation, seizing indigenous lands.
Amazon indigenous put at risk by Brazil’s feeble Covid-19 response: Critics
on March 20, 2020 at 1:32 pm
- Brazil’s indigenous movement is vigorously reorganizing its tactics in response to what it sees as the government’s ineffective response to the coronavirus. Indigenous leaders have also been forced to cancel the April Free Land Encampment in Brasília, at which they annually publicize their grievances to a large international audience.- The cancelation was carried out to prevent activists from contracting Covid-19 in the city and carrying it back to Brazil’s remote Amazon indigenous communities. Indigenous peoples in Brazil historically have little resistance to new infectious diseases, and particularly respiratory diseases.- Especially now at risk are isolated peoples in the western Amazon. Such groups are extremely susceptible to disease, but analysts fear that Bolsonaro will end the government’s “no contact” rule, practiced successfully for the past thirty years. If contacted, isolated groups could easily be infected and decimated by Covid-19.- The indigenous movement is swiftly adopting new communication strategies, utilizing technology and social media to press forward with online meetings and awareness campaigns. There are grave disease concerns in Amazonas and Mato Grosso do Sul states, which have the biggest indigenous populations in Brazil.
Qualified success: What’s next for Peru’s Operation Mercury?
on March 19, 2020 at 10:05 am
- The Peruvian government’s launch of Operation Mercury to crack down on illegal mining had a burst of initial success, cutting deforestation by 92% since its kickoff in February 2019.- Concerns have surfaced that the operation would simply displace miners, forcing them to deforest new areas.- However, satellite imagery analysis published in January 2020 revealed that, while deforestation due to mining continues to be a problem in southeastern Peru, Operation Mercury has not led to a surge in forest loss adjacent to the targeted area.- The government is also investing in programs aimed at providing employment alternatives so that people don’t return to mining.