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
Amazon ‘Tribes on the Edge’: Q&A with documentary filmmaker Céline Cousteau
on March 1, 2021 at 10:00 pm
- Céline Cousteau, granddaughter of the legendary Jacques Cousteau, spent three years filming the lives of the inhabitants of the Javari Valley Indigenous Territory in the Brazilian Amazon.- The filming took place before the COVID-19 pandemic and before Jair Bolsonaro became president, but the issues it highlights are as relevant as ever, Cousteau says, from the state’s neglect of Indigenous health, to the exploitative policies pushed by successive governments.- “Indigenous peoples and the Javari are the protectors of an ecosystem on which we depend,” she says. “Supporting their survival helps us survive forever.”- One of the subjects of the film, Indigenous leader Beto Marubo, says there are no immediate solutions: “This problem didn’t happen overnight, and you by yourself will not solve it overnight. You need to be here for the long run.”
An economic case for competing in the XPRIZE Rainforest contest (commentary)
on March 1, 2021 at 9:35 am
- In 2019, XPRIZE Rainforest opened its doors and challenged the world to develop new biodiversity assessment technologies by offering a $10 million prize for the best one.- In this commentary, Jonah Wittkamper, President of the Global Governance Philanthropy Network and co-founder of NEXUS, makes an economic argument for participating in the contest.- Wittkamper says a great deal of value could be unlocked with the ability to rapidly assess rainforest biodiversity.- This post is a commentary and does not necessarily reflect the views of Mongabay.
As Amazon forest-to-savanna tipping point looms, solutions remain elusive
on February 23, 2021 at 5:48 pm
- Leading scientists project that if an additional 3-8% of rainforest cover is lost in the Amazon, it may overshoot a forest-to-degraded-savanna tipping point. That shift could mean mega-drought, forest death, and release of great amounts of stored carbon to the atmosphere from southern, eastern and central Amazonia.- Despite this warning, Brazilian Amazon deforestation hit an 11-year high in 2020. Government clampdowns on environmental crime greatly decreased deforestation in the past, but Brazil is now facing a political backlash led by President Jair Bolsonaro, resulting in agribusiness and mining expansion and deforestation.- Market efforts to create incentives have been ineffective. A public-private plan to cut deforestation led by Mato Grosso state has not met its environmental targets, even as agricultural lands increased. Amazonas, Acre and Rondônia — Bolsonaro-aligned states — are pushing for the creation of a new agriculture frontier.- Indigenous communities, because they’re the best land stewards, should be at the forefront of public policy to conserve the Amazon, say experts, but instead they face poverty and marginalization by the institutions responsible for securing their land rights. International response to the Amazon crisis has also lagged.
Gold and diamonds fail to shine as drivers of Amazon development
on February 22, 2021 at 10:57 am
- Gold and diamond mining in the Brazilian Amazon don’t contribute to sustained improvements in the economy, health and education, among other development parameters, a new study shows.- The study compared these parameters in 73 Amazonian municipalities where mining takes place, against others in the region without mining.- It found that any improvements were brief, lasting no more than five years, while the adverse environmental impacts lingered for up to seven years.- The researchers, from the Instituto Escolhas, plan to hone their methodology by including other parameters, such as tax incentives for miners, which they predict will show that the industry is also a drain on public coffers.
Big dream: NGO leads in creating 1,615-mile Amazon-Cerrado river greenbelt
on February 17, 2021 at 6:07 pm
- The Black Jaguar Foundation plans to reforest 1 million hectares (2.4 million acres) along Brazil’s Araguaia and Tocantins rivers in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes. The 2,600 kilometer (1,615 mile) long natural corridor will require the planting of around 1.7 billion trees. Tens-of-thousands have already been planted.- This natural corridor will be established on private lands, and it will have dual ecological and economic goals, resulting in both land conservation and sustainable agroforestry production. It would cross six Brazilian states (Goiás, Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, Tocantins, Pará and Maranhão).- BJF is well funded and well organized, so the greatest barriers to accomplishing the NGO’s goals are many initially resistant rural property owners who need to be sold on the economic benefits of the green corridor. 24,000 privately owned lots are included in the planned green corridor.- “Brazil has a huge liability in degraded areas, and the BJF [green corridor] initiative is a huge outdoor laboratory for ecosystem restoration in the center of the country, in the agricultural frontier region,” said one researcher.