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 (INPE + Imazon)
- Brazilian Amazon: Monthly land use change (INPE)
Recent news on monitoring deforestation in the Amazon rainforest
New index measuring rainforest vulnerability to sound alarm on tipping points
on July 28, 2021 at 11:08 am
- The new Tropical Forest Vulnerability Index (TFVI) will use satellite data to assess the impact of growing threats such as land clearance and rising temperatures on forests.- Backed by the National Geographic Society and Swiss watchmaker Rolex, TFVI aims to identify forests most at risk, to be prioritized for conservation efforts.- Researchers combined 40 years of satellite measurements and forest observations covering tropical forests worldwide to come up with the standardized monitoring system.- In recent years, multiple stressors have pushed forests to a tipping point, causing them to gradually lose their ecological functions, including their capacity to store carbon and recycle water, the study says.
‘Stampede’ of legislation threatens accelerated destruction of the Amazon
on July 26, 2021 at 9:26 am
- A series of bills being deliberated in Brazil threatens to legalize illegally occupied land, change demarcation rules for Indigenous reserves and open them up to mining, and ease concessions inside public forests.- One of the bills targets the Amazonian state of Acre, proposing a reduction of the important Chico Mendes Extractive Reserve and a downgrade in the protected status of Serra do Divisor National Park.- In another Amazonian state, Rondônia, a state bill was passed this year that significantly shrank the Jaci-Paraná Extractive Reserve and the Guajará-Mirim State Park, setting a worrying precedent, activists say.- They warn this wave of legislation is part of the current administration’s bid to “run the cattle” through environmental protections for the benefit of commercial sectors such as agribusiness and mining.
Lessons from the 2021 Amazon flood (commentary)
on July 23, 2021 at 4:25 pm
- In June 2021, the annual flood season in the western and central Amazon reached record levels, and dramatic scenes of inundated homes, crops and city streets captured attention beyond Amazonia. This event provides lessons that must be learned.- The high flood waters are explained by climatological forces that are expected to strengthen with projected global warming. Damaging floods represent just one of the predicted impacts in Amazônia under a warming climate.- The administration of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro must change its current denialist positions on global warming and its policies that encourage deforestation. The Amazon forest must be maintained for many reasons in addition to its role in avoiding climate change.- This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.
Amazon and Cerrado deforestation, warming spark record drought in urban Brazil
on July 22, 2021 at 2:36 pm
- Southern and central Brazil are in the midst of the worst drought in nearly 100 years, with agribusiness exports of coffee and sugar, and the production of hydroelectric power, at grave risk.- According to researchers, the drought, now in its second year, likely has two main causes: climate change, which tends to make continental interiors both hotter and drier, and the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest and Cerrado savanna biomes.- Deforestation has caused the loss of almost half of the Cerrado’s native vegetation, which helps hold vast amounts of water underground, maintaining aquifers that supply the nation’s rivers with water. In the Amazon, rainforest loss is preventing billions of tons of water vapor from reaching the atmosphere.- President Jair Bolsonaro acknowledges neither climate change nor deforestation as sources of the drought, but attributes it instead to the country and himself being “unlucky.” The administration’s drought response so far is to reactivate fossil-fuel power plants, which pollute heavily and are costly to operate.
Planned Brazil-Peru highway threatens one of Earth’s most biodiverse places
on July 22, 2021 at 11:54 am
- Serra do Divisor National Park on Brazil’s border with Peru is home to numerous endemic animals and more than a thousand plant species, but faces a double threat from a planned highway and a bid to downgrade its protected status.- The downgrade from national park to “environmental protection area” would paradoxically open up this Andean-Amazon transition region to deforestation, cattle ranching, and mining — activities that are currently prohibited in the park.- The highway project, meant to give Acre another land route to the Pacific via Peru, has been embraced by the government of President Jair Bolsonaro, which has already taken the first steps toward its construction.- Indigenous and river community leaders say they have not been consulted about the highway, as required by law, and have not been told about the proposed downgrade of the park, both of which they warn will have negative socioenvironmental impacts.