This page collects deforestation alert data published by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) and Imazon, a Brazilian NGO. INPE’s system is called DETER for Sistema de Detecção do Desmatamento na Amazônia Legal em Tempo Real, while Imazon’s system is called SAD for Sistema de Alerta de Deforestation.
As explained here, month-to-month deforestation is highly variable. Short-term, alert-based deforestation detection systems do not penetrate cloud cover, so during the rainy season — from roughly November to April — estimates are notoriously unreliable when compared to the same month a year earlier. Furthermore, most forest clearing in the Amazon occurs when it is dry. So if the dry season is early, deforestation may increase earlier than normal. For these reasons, the most accurate deforestation comparisons are made year-on-year. For Brazil, the deforestation “year” ends July 31: the peak of the dry season when the largest extent of forest is typically visible via satellite.
Short-term data isn’t useless though — it can provide insights on trends, especially over longer periods of time. Generally, comparing 12 consecutive months of alert data will provide a pretty good indication of deforestation relative to other years. Therefore the charts below include monthly data as well as the 12-month moving average (Trailing Twelve Months = “TTM”).
Last update: 2021-Nov-17
Table: Monthly deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon
|Month||DETER||DETER TTM||SAD||SAD TTM|
In August 2016, the table data for the DETER columns switches from DETER to DETER-B, Brazil’s new deforestation detection system.
‘They will die’: Fears for the last Piripkura as Amazon invasion ramps up
- Overflight images show that outsiders have not just invaded the Piripkura Indigenous Territory in the Brazilian Amazon, but are also expanding their illegal cattle ranches in what’s supposed to be the protected land of one of the world’s most vulnerable uncontacted Indigenous groups.- Deforestation inside the territory surged nearly a hundredfold in the 12 months since August 2020, which Indigenous rights activists attribute to anticipation among would-be invaders that a restriction ordinance banning outsiders won’t be renewed as it has every two years since 2008.- The invaders are closing in on the parts of the territory inhabited by Pakyî and Tamandua, the last two known Piripkura individuals living in the territory; there may be another 13 there who have chosen to remain uncontacted.- The Piripkura suffered from at least two massacres since their first contact with outsiders in the 1980s, and now face the risk of extermination again, activists warn.
For Indigenous Zoró, the Brazil nut is a weapon against deforestation
- The Indigenous Zoró people in the Brazilian Amazon have struck a balance between generating income and keeping their forest standing, thanks to the Brazil nut.- They harvest the fruit and sell it through the COOPAVAM farmers’ cooperative, which guarantees fairer prices than dealing with the traditional network of middlemen.- The success of this sustainable model since 2018 saw most Zoró villages abandon their previous ties to the illegal loggers operating in their territory.- But with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic hardship, many villages have fallen back on these links, compounding existing threats to their forests posed by illegal mining and cattle ranching.
Amazonian birds are shrinking in response to climate change, study shows
- A new study has found that birds in an undisturbed region of the Amazon are evolving smaller bodies and longer wings in response to the changing climate.- Of the 77 species that researchers studied, 36 had lost almost 2% of their body weight per decade since 1980, and 61 saw an increase in wing length during that period.- Researchers link these morphological changes to climate change: with hotter temperatures and less predictable rainfall patterns, the birds are evolving to “eat less, get smaller, produce less heat.”- Climate change poses the greater risk of extinction to South American birds, which are far more sensitive to temperature extremes than birds in temperate climates.
Meet Magali, the conservation warrior rescuing Peru’s rainforest animals: Video
- A new, award-winning short film by Nick Werber follows wildlife rehabilitator and founder of Amazon Shelter, Magali Salinas, as she discusses her work in the Madre de Dios region of the Peruvian Amazon.- Magali has dedicated the past 16 years of her life to rescuing animals in a region rife with illegal logging, mining, and wildlife trade. Her center cares for up to 80 animals at once (including sloths, tortoises, parrots, monkeys and more) and releases dozens back into the wild each year.- Amazon shelter specializes in howler monkeys and Magali releases troops of rehabilitated howlers into protected reserves away from other howler troops’ territories. Finding these places can take days to weeks of searching.- The film builds to the release of 14 howler monkeys into the wild. “It just goes to show the difference that one person can make,” Werber said. “That was what inspired me to make the film.”
You can’t see them to count them, but Amazonian manatees seem to be recovering
- Following intense commercial hunting from the 1930s to the 1950s, scientists and community members are seeing signs that the manatee population in the Amazon is growing.- A study carried out in the Piagaçu-Purus Sustainable Development Reserve in the state of Amazonas shows large manatee populations nearby human communities, apparently co-existing in peace.- Threats still remain in the form of poaching and accidental capture; calves that are orphaned or injured in these incidents are taken to rehabilitation centers, but these are low on funding and overcrowded.- Monitoring of manatees returned to nature from these rehabilitation centers shows their work is paying off: one female being tracked since her return was later found to be pregnant.
In Brazil, an agribusiness haven’s green pivot leaves many skeptical
- The Amacro project was conceived in early 2020 as an agribusiness hub in a heavily deforested part of the Brazilian Amazon, but a year later is being touted as a hub for sustainable business.- Now renamed the Abunã-Madeira Sustainable Development Area (ZDS), it stretches across 32 municipalities in the states of Amazonas, Acre and Rondônia, which last year accounted for nearly a quarter of the total deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.- The ZDS project aims to attract investments into a wide range of sectors, from agroforestry and fish farming, to tourism and logistics, as well as the agribusiness, while promising to avoid deforestation through technology to help boost agricultural productivity.- Despite these green claims, prosecutors and nonprofit researchers say the prospect of new investment is already boosting land grabbing and deforestation in the area, and argue the best way to halt deforestation is to create protected areas — something that’s not included in the ZDS project.
Amazon deforestation unexpectedly surges 22% to highest level since 2006
- Deforestation in Earth’s largest rainforest surged 22% to the highest level since 2006, according to official data released today by the Brazilian government.- Preliminary analysis of satellite data by Brazil’s national space research institute INPE shows that 13,235 square kilometers (5,110 square miles) of rainforest was cleared in the Brazilian Amazon between August 1, 2020 and July 31, 2021.- The sharp increase came as a surprise: Data from INPE’s near-real-time deforestation alert system had set expectations for a modest year-over-year decline in the rate of forest destruction.- Deforestation has been on an upward trend in the Brazilian Amazon since 2012.
Court convenes historic hearing in Indigenous territory on land consent issue
- Ecuador’s Constitutional Court held a hearing in the Indigenous Cofan territory of Sinangoe in the northern Amazon rainforest on Nov. 15, the first time the highest court in the country agreed to travel to Indigenous territory for a court hearing.- The hearing is a step in a review of the country’s process for free, prior and informed consultation, and how well this process in action adheres to the rights outlined in the Constitution.- To analyze this process, the Constitutional Court selected two previous Indigenous lawsuits, including Sinangoe’s 2018 winning lawsuit against the government for selling mining concessions on their territory without first consulting with the community.- More than 300 Indigenous leaders arrived in Sinangoe for the hearing, traveling from all over the Amazon and other parts of Ecuador to support the consultation review process, which will also have an impact on territorial struggles across the country.
Study evaluates role of rivers in creating the Amazon’s rich biodiversity
- In the 19th century, British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, who developed the theory of natural selection independently of Charles Darwin, hypothesized that the large rivers in the Amazon Basin could be natural barriers influencing the diversity of life in the forest.- While Wallace’s theory was proven through studies on vertebrates, a new study now shows how it also applies to plant species.- The study found that the high variety of flora in the Amazon is not the result of any single factor, but rather the combination of many different factors.- For some plants, wide rivers were an important barrier to be able to create new species; for others, seed dispersal by way of wind, water and animals was the determining factor.
Indigenous groups call for gov’t intervention as land grabbers invade Bolivian protected area
- Bajo Paraguá – San Ignacio de Velasco Municipal Protected Area was created on February 12, 2021, to protect 983,000 hectares (about 2,429,045 acres) of primary forest in the Chiquitania region of Bolivia.- But despite its new protected status, residents are reporting invasions and human settlements in Bajo Paraguá, claiming the colonizers were land traffickers.- On-site investigation and satellite data and imagery show ongoing deforestation.- Local leaders, including those of Indigenous groups that live in Bajo Paraguá, are calling for government intervention – while also alleging connections between land grabbers and government officials.