Monitoring deforestation in the Amazon rainforest

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.

Sections

This site is organized into sections:

Annual data

Official PRODES data showing annual deforestation (Aug 1-Jul 31 year) in the Brazilian Amazon since 1988.

Recent news

English

  • As COP26 looms and tropical deforestation soars, REDD+ debate roars on
    on April 15, 2021 at 8:23 pm

    - The United Nations REDD+ program (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) has been operating for more than 13 years as a multipurpose initiative, intended to curb deforestation in tropical nations, sequester forest carbon, combat climate change, protect biodiversity, and aid poor rural communities.- The REDD+ mechanism is largely paid for by wealthy industrialized countries contributing funds to less developed tropical nations, including those in the Amazon, Congo Basin and Indonesia.- Some 600 REDD+ projects have been initiated to date (with some 400 still active), mostly implemented by socioenvironmental NGOs or for-profit project developers, and financed by more than $10 billion in donor funds in more than 65 countries. But evidence of avoided deforestation and reduced carbon emissions is controversial.- With the COP26 Glasgow climate summit looming in November, Mongabay invited experts to weigh in on the global initiative’s successes and failings, with some supporting expansion of REDD+ via revised program rules and funding, while others support major reforms, or even the initiative’s replacement.

  • An Amazonian arapaima washed up in a Florida river. It didn’t swim there
    on April 9, 2021 at 7:01 pm

    - In February, Florida officials identified the body of an arapaima (Arapaima gigas) that had washed ashore from the Caloosahatchee River.- An expert said the arapaima, a fish species endemic to the Amazon lowlands, had likely come from the pet trade.- Live arapaimas are mainly brought into the U.S. for aquaculture, although a small number are also imported for the pet trade, another expert said.- While arapaimas are not currently considered to be an invasive species, there are concerns they could become problematic in the future if enough end up in Florida’s waterways.

  • Intimidation of Brazil’s enviro scientists, academics, officials on upswing
    on April 8, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    - Increasingly, Brazilian environmental researchers, academics and officials appear to be coming under fire for their scientific work or views, sometimes from the Jair Bolsonaro government, but also from anonymous Bolsonaro supporters.- Researchers and academics have come under attack for their scientific work on agrochemicals, deforestation and other topics, as well as for their socio-environmental views. Attacks have taken the form of anonymous insults and death threats, gag orders, equipment thefts, and even attempted kidnapping.- A range of intimidation is being experienced by officials, including firings and threats of retaliation for institutional criticism at IBAMA, Brazil’s environment agency, ICMBio, the Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity Conservation overseeing Brazil’s national parks, and FUNAI, the Indigenous affairs agency.- “Whose interests benefit from the denial of the data on deforestation… from criminalizing the action of NGOs and environmentalists? What we are witnessing is a coordinated action to make it easier for agribusiness to advance into Indigenous territories and standing forest,” says one critic.

  • As Brazil’s military pulls out of the Amazon, its legacy is in question
    on April 8, 2021 at 9:48 am

    - On April 30, the Brazilian government will officially end Operation Green Brazil, a military-led campaign that started in August 2019 to combat the peak of illegal fires in the Amazon.- In that time, the military has gained increasing power in environmental policies implemented in the Amazon, even undercutting federal environmental agencies in their enforcement work and filling key positions in the agencies.- Experts have criticized the operation’s high costs — five times higher than the budget for the environmental protection agency — which has gone mainly into enforcement in already demarcated or registered areas while ignoring disputed lands, which are more susceptible to illegal exploitation.- At the same time, the federal government is implementing its national development plan for the Amazon, which focuses on expanding industrial activity, citing “modernity and progress” as “the order of the day.”

  • Government inaction prompts voluntary REDD+ carbon credit boom in Brazil
    on April 6, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    - With the Bolsonaro government largely indifferent to participating in a carbon credit market, and amid intensifying pressure from clients and investors, a voluntary carbon credit market is booming in Brazil. The country, however, still doesn’t have any regulation about how and by whom credits can be issued.- REDD+ projects that issue carbon credits for reforesting or avoiding deforestation have caught the attention of financial market players. Amid the new carbon credit trading firms, such as financial technology company Moss, and other initiatives, Brazilian projects offer both examples of success and failure in forest preservation.- REDD+ supporters argue Brazil’s voluntary carbon credit market is allowing small-scale farmers and Indigenous and traditional people to get in the game, benefiting them financially, and helping conserve forests and protect the Earth’s climate.- But critics say it’s difficult to ensure that forest conservation promises made today can be kept in the future, especially in a nation notorious for illegal deforestation and record forest fires. Also, protecting one area can simply drive the deforestation to another area.

Spanish

Amazonia

Brazilian Portuguese

Amazonia