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 May 15, 2020
Brazilian court orders 20,000 gold miners removed from Yanomami Park
on July 7, 2020 at 1:34 pm
- The Yanomami Park covers 37,000 square miles in the Brazilian Amazon on the Venezuelan border; it is inhabited by 13,000 Yanomami. Soaring gold prices have resulted in a massive ongoing invasion of the indigenous territory by gold miners who are well supported with monetary backing, heavy equipment and aircraft.- On 3 July, a federal judge issued an emergency ruling ordering the Jair Bolsonaro administration to come up with an immediate plan to stop the spread of the pandemic to Yanomami Park, a plan which must include the removal of all 20,000 invading miners within ten days. Brazil’s Vice President pledges to back the plan.- That eviction must stay in effect until the danger to the Yanomami of the pandemic passes. There have so far been five Yanomami deaths due to the disease and 168 confirmed cases. More are expected.- The invasion has also resulted in violent clashes between miners and indigenous people. In mid-June two Yanomami were killed in a conflict, evoking fears of a replay of retaliatory violence that occurred in the 1990s. In response to the current crisis, the Yanomami have launched their “Miners Out, Covid Out” campaign.
World’s biggest trade deal in trouble over EU anger at Brazil deforestation
on July 6, 2020 at 5:29 pm
- The trade agreement between the European Union and Mercosur (Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay), is the biggest trade treaty ever negotiated. Signed a year ago, the US$19 trillion deal’s ratification could fail due to Brazil’s refusal to respond.- At the end of June, French President Emmanuel Macron declared that his nation will not make “any trade agreement with countries that do not respect the Paris [Climate] Agreement,” a direct reference to the administration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro who has pursued an aggressive policy to develop the Amazon.- The Dutch parliament, Austria, Belgium, Ireland and Luxembourg, plus some EU parliamentarians, and NGOs are opposed to the deal, saying it brings unfair competition to EU farmers and accelerates Amazon deforestation. French and Brazilian business interests and diplomats meet this week to try and settle differences.- Brazil’s Bolsonaro has so far been unmoved by all these objections. While the government plans to launch a PR campaign to convince the EU to ratify the trade agreement, it continues pressing forward with plans to allow industrial mining and agribusiness intrusion into Amazon indigenous reserves and conserved areas.
Discovery of fish never recorded in the Amazon shows richness of Brazil’s Calha Norte
on July 3, 2020 at 10:15 am
- Brazilian scientists have identified six fish species never before seen in the Amazon in Calha Norte, in the state of Pará, one of the best-preserved and least studied parts of the rainforest.- Calha Norte lies north of the Amazon River, along the border with Guyana and Suriname, where those species were previously thought to be endemic, and 80% of its area is protected within conservation areas and Indigenous and Afro-Brazilian territories.- Even though it is remote and hard to reach, illegal hunting, mining and deforestation are already placing local biodiversity at risk.- These threats have made research even more urgent, with scientists warning the risk is that species will disappear before they are ever described.
Gold priced at $1,700 per ounce brings new gold rush to Brazilian Amazon
on July 1, 2020 at 11:32 am
- Global instability brought on by the Coronavirus and the meltdown of the world economy has sent gold prices soaring to US$1,700 per ounce, their highest value in 10 years. That surge has triggered a new, intensified gold rush in the Brazilian Amazon as entrepreneurs invest in expensive equipment and cheap labor.- While some Amazon gold mining is legally permitted, much isn’t. The lucrative, unpoliced industry is causing deforestation, river destruction, mercury contamination (the element used in gold ore processing), and an invasion by hundreds of thousands of miners who could spread COVID-19 to the region.- Despite being an illegal activity, large gold mining dredges operate openly in Porto Velho, the capital of Rondônia state. Our Mongabay reporting team followed the daily lives of a dredge-owning entrepreneur and his crew of garimpeiros as they searched for the precious metal in the waters of the Madeira River.
Brazil’s indigenous hit especially hard by COVID-19: why so vulnerable?
on June 25, 2020 at 5:41 pm
- At least 78 indigenous peoples in the Brazilian Amazon are infected by COVID-19, with 3,662 individuals testing positive and 249 dead among 45 of those peoples. Detailed data is lacking for the other 33 peoples. Experts say poverty, poor resistance to Western diseases, and lack of medical facilities may explain high vulnerability.- The Coordination of Indigenous Organizations in the Brazilian Amazon (COIAB), which gathered and tallied this data, expects cases and deaths are underreported. Many leaders and elders continue dying among indigenous people, including elders of the Munduruku, Kayapó, Arara, Macuxi, and Tuyuka peoples.- COVID-19 has now penetrated the Xingu river basin, a vast area south of the Amazon River in Pará and Mato Grosso states. The Arara people there were devastated by disease and violence in the 1980s. Now, of 121 remaining Arara, almost half have tested positive for the coronavirus.- Of the 1,818 Xicrin in southwest Pará state, 270 (15%) have tested positive, with seven deaths. Analysts speculate this high infection and death rate (higher than Brazil’s general populace, and even many other indigenous groups), may be due to poor underlying health due to water allegedly polluted by a Vale nickel mine.