Monitoring deforestation in the Amazon

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: 2022-Mar-11

Table: Monthly deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

Month DETER DETER TTM SAD SAD TTM
Apr 2008 1,124 156
May 2008 1,096 9,190 294 5,603
Jun 2008 871 9,064 612 5,716
Jul 2008 324 8,536 276 5,031
Aug 2008 757 7,835 102 4,470
Sep 2008 587 8,400 321 3,679
Oct 2008 541 8,457 102 3,257
Nov 2008 355 8,554 61 2,251
Dec 2008 177 8,013 50 2,233
Jan 2009 222 7,342 51 2,202
Feb 2009 143 6,925 62 2,201
Mar 2009 18 6,343 57 2,144
Apr 2009 37 6,214 121 2,109
May 2009 124 5,127 157 1,972
Jun 2009 578 4,155 150 1,510
Jul 2009 836 3,862 532 1,766
Aug 2009 498 4,375 273 1,937
Sep 2009 400 4,116 216 1,832
Oct 2009 176 3,929 194 1,924
Nov 2009 72 3,564 74 1,937
Dec 2009 3,281 16 1,903
Jan 2010 23 3,104 63 1,915
Feb 2010 185 2,905 88 1,941
Mar 2010 52 2,947 76 1,960
Apr 2010 52 2,981 65 1,904
May 2010 110 2,996 96 1,843
Jun 2010 244 2,982 172 1,865
Jul 2010 485 2,647 155 1,488
Aug 2010 265 2,296 210 1,425
Sep 2010 448 2,063 170 1,379
Oct 2010 389 2,111 153 1,338
Nov 2010 121 2,324 65 1,329
Dec 2010 21 2,372 175 1,488
Jan 2011 36 2,394 83 1,508
Feb 2011 1 2,407 63 1,483
Mar 2011 116 2,223 46 1,453
Apr 2011 477 2,287 298 1,686
May 2011 268 2,712 165 1,755
Jun 2011 313 2,871 99 1,682
Jul 2011 225 2,940 93 1,620
Aug 2011 163 2,680 240 1,650
Sep 2011 254 2,578 170 1,650
Oct 2011 386 2,384 102 1,599
Nov 2011 133 2,381 16 1,550
Dec 2011 75 2,393 40 1,415
Jan 2012 22 2,446 33 1,365
Feb 2012 307 2,432 107 1,409
Mar 2012 60 2,737 53 1,416
Apr 2012 233 2,681 71 1,189
May 2012 99 2,437 43 1,067
Jun 2012 108 2,268 35 1,003
Jul 2012 214 2,062 140 1,050
Aug 2012 522 2,051 232 1,042
Sep 2012 283 2,410 431 1,303
Oct 2012 277 2,439 487 1,688
Nov 2012 205 2,331 55 1,727
Dec 2012 131 2,403 82 1,769
Jan 2013 9 2,459 35 1,771
Feb 2013 270 2,447 45 1,709
Mar 2013 28 2,410 80 1,736
Apr 2013 147 2,378 140 1,805
May 2013 465 2,293 84 1,846
Jun 2013 210 2,659 184 1,995
Jul 2013 217 2,762 152 2,007
Aug 2013 289 2,766 185 1,960
Sep 2013 443 2,532 103 1,632
Oct 2013 155 2,692 43 1,188
Nov 2013 108 2,569 37 1,170
Dec 2013 93 2,472 56 1,144
Jan 2014 75 2,434 107 1,216
Feb 2014 119 2,500 11 1,182
Mar 2014 53 2,349 20 1,122
Apr 2014 166 2,374 100 1,082
May 2014 271 2,394 185 1,183
Jun 2014 535 2,200 843 1,842
Jul 2014 729 2,525 355 2,045
Aug 2014 890 3,036 437 2,297
Sep 2014 736 3,638 402 2,596
Oct 2014 298 3,931 244 2,797
Nov 2014 77 4,074 195 2,955
Dec 2014 85 4,043 95 2,994
Jan 2015 129 4,035 289 3,176
Feb 2015 61 4,089 42 3,207
Mar 2015 155 4,031 58 3,245
Apr 2015 334 4,133 137 3,282
May 2015 588 4,301 389 3,486
Jun 2015 855 4,618 494 3,137
Jul 2015 914 4,937 542 3,324
Aug 2015 654 5,122 415 3,302
Sep 2015 504 4,885 229 3,129
Oct 2015 377 4,653 230 3,115
Nov 2015 240 4,732 99 3,019
Dec 2015 89 4,896 175 3,099
Jan 2016 63 4,899 52 2,862
Feb 2016 534 4,832 0 2,820
Mar 2016 123 5,305 213 2,975
Apr 2016 436 5,274 183 3,021
May 2016 784 5,375 474 3,106
Jun 2016 1,431 5,571 972 3,584
Jul 2016 738 6,147 539 3,581
Aug 2016 1,025 5,974 582 3,748
Sep 2016 691 6,164 387 3,906
Oct 2016 750 6,364 202 3,878
Nov 2016 367 6,418 37 3,816
Dec 2016 17 6,162 0 3,641
Jan 2017 58 5,986 42 3,631
Feb 2017 101 5,971 0 3,631
Mar 2017 74 5,737 97 3,515
Apr 2017 127 5,437 96 3,428
May 2017 363 5,270 365 3,319
Jun 2017 609 4,928 537 2,884
Jul 2017 458 4,639 544 2,889
Aug 2017 278 3,892 184 2,491
Sep 2017 403 3,603 241 2,345
Oct 2017 440 3,293 261 2,404
Nov 2017 354 3,280 56 2,423
Dec 2017 288 3,551 184 2,607
Jan 2018 183 3,676 70 2,635
Feb 2018 152 3,726 214 2,849
Mar 2018 357 4,008 287 3,039
Apr 2018 490 4,371 217 3,160
May 2018 550 4,557 634 3,429
Jun 2018 488 4,437 1,169 4,061
Jul 2018 596 4,576 778 4,295
Aug 2018 530 4,828 545 4,656
Sep 2018 746 5,172 444 4,859
Oct 2018 526 5,258 187 4,785
Nov 2018 277 5,181 287 5,016
Dec 2018 67 4,961 246 5,078
Jan 2019 136 4,914 108 5,116
Feb 2019 139 4,902 93 4,995
Mar 2019 251 4,796 67 4,775
Apr 2019 247 4,554 195 4,753
May 2019 739 4,743 797 4,916
Jun 2019 935 5,190 801 4,548
Jul 2019 2,255 6,849 1,287 5,057
Aug 2019 1,713 8,032 886 5,398
Sep 2019 1,453 8,739 802 5,756
Oct 2019 555 8,768 583 6,152
Nov 2019 563 9,054 354 6,219
Dec 2019 190 9,176 227 6,200
Jan 2020 284 9,325 188 6,280
Feb 2020 186 9,371 102 6,289
Mar 2020 327 9,447 324 6,546
Apr 2020 407 9,607 529 6,880
May 2020 834 9,702 649 6,732
Jun 2020 1,043 9,810 822 6,753
Jul 2020 1,659 9,214 1,147 6,613
Aug 2020 1,359 8,859 1,499 7,226
Sep 2020 964 8,371 1,218 7,642
Oct 2020 836 8,652 890 7,949
Nov 2020 310 8,400 484 8,079
Dec 2020 216 8,426 276 8,128
Jan 2021 86 8,228 196 8,136
Feb 2021 125 8,166 179 8,213
Mar 2021 163 8,002 810 8,699
Apr 2021 581 8,175 778 8,948
May 2021 1,391 8,733 1,125 9,424
Jun 2021 1,062 8,752 926 9,528
Jul 2021 1,498 8,591 2,095 10,476
Aug 2021 918 8,150 1,606 10,583
Sep 2021 985 8,170 1,224 10,589
Oct 2021 877 8,210 803 10,502
Nov 2021 214 8,114 480 10,498
Dec 2021 87 7,985 140 10,362
Jan 2022 430 8,330 261 10,427
Feb 2022 199 8,404


In August 2016, the table data for the DETER columns switches from DETER to DETER-B, Brazil’s new deforestation detection system.

  • Forest fires are getting worse, 20 years of data confirm

    - Fires are now causing an additional 3 million hectares (7.4 million acres) of tree cover loss per year than they did in 2001, according to a newly released Global Forest Watch analysis that examined fires that burn all or most of a forest’s living overstory trees.- The majority of all fire-caused tree cover loss in the past 20 years (nearly 70%) occurred in boreal regions. Although fires are naturally occurring there, they are now increasing at an annual rate of 3% and burning with greater frequency and severity and over larger areas than historically recorded.- Fires are not naturally occurring in tropical rainforests, but in recent years, as deforestation and climate change have degraded and dried out intact forests, fires have been escaping into standing tropical rainforests. GFW findings suggest fires in the tropics have increased by roughly 5% per year since 2001.- Researchers say there is no “silver bullet” solution for forest fires, but experts call for more spending on planning and preparation.

  • Amazon cloud forests need protection (commentary)

    - Where the Andes meet the Amazon, you will find one of the earth’s richest and most important biomes but its role has been largely overlooked in our efforts to mitigate climate change impacts, argues Enrique G. Ortiz of the Andes Amazon Fund.- After 40 years working in tropical forests, Ortiz says the Amazon cloud forest is his favorite type of forest. In this commentary, he makes the case for why their protection should be a priority for conservation efforts.- This article is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily of Mongabay.

  • Amazon deforestation on pace to roughly match last year’s rate of loss

    - Deforestation in Earth’s largest rainforest is on track to rival last year’s 15-year-high according to data released today by the Brazilian government.- INPE, Brazil’s national space research institute, today published figures from its DETER deforestation alert system, which tracks forest clearing on a near-real time basis. INPE’s system detected 8,590 square kilometers of deforestation between August 1, 2021 and July 31, 2022, 2.3% lower than the previous year, when deforestation hit the highest level since 2006.- The area of forest affected by degradation and selected cutting, which is typically a precursor to outright deforestation, climbed 15.6% year over year.- 2022’s tally represents an area nearly the size of Puerto Rico or Cypress. But the actual area of forest loss over the past 12 months is significantly higher: INPE is expected to release its findings from analysis of high resolution satellite imagery in October or November.

  • Violence persists in Amazon region where Pereira and Phillips were killed

    - Armed illegal gold miners on July 15 threatened government rangers near the site where British journalist Dom Phillips and Brazilian Indigenous expert Bruno Pereira were killed in June.- Days after the threats, federal prosecutors charged three men in the killing of Phillips and Pereira, but activists and lawmakers say the investigation needs to be expanded to identify the possible involvement of criminal organizations.- Activists say threats against government officials, including Pereira, have happened for decades, but that the situation has grown dire under President Jair Bolsonaro.- The government’s weakening of environmental agencies and Bolsonaro’s anti-Indigenous rhetoric have created a sense of impunity, emboldening criminals in the Amazon to retaliate against activists and environmentalists who expose their illicit activities, experts say.

  • As roads and railways threaten primates, Brazil is a global hotspot

    - A study mapping out the regions of the world where primates face the greatest risk from infrastructure such as roads, railways, power lines and pipelines has identified Brazil, Thailand, Indonesia and China atop the list.- Of the 512 known primate species, 92, or 18%, are directly affected by roads and railways; threats come from vehicle impacts as well as the “barrier effect” that the infrastructure poses, limiting the mobility of tree-dwelling animals.- Some 25 million kilometers (15 million miles) of roads and railways are expected to be built by 2050, of which 90% will be in less-industrialized countries, including tropical regions that are home to rich primate diversity.- Nearly 200 million hectares (almost 500 million acres) of tropical forest have been lost over the past 20 years in regions where primates live, with Brazil’s Atlantic Forest and the Amazon considered high-priority areas for mitigation and preservation measures.

  • Organized crime drives violence and deforestation in the Amazon, study shows

    - Increasing rates of both deforestation and violence in the Brazilian Amazon are being driven by sprawling national and transnational criminal networks, a study shows.- Experts say criminal organizations engaged in activities ranging from illegal logging to drug trafficking often threaten and attack environmentalists, Indigenous people, and enforcement agents who attempt to stop them.- In 2020, the Brazilian Amazon had the highest murder rate in Brazil, at 29.6 homicides per 100,000 habitants, compared to the national average of 23.9, with the highest rates corresponding to municipalities suffering the most deforestation.- Experts say the current government’s systematic dismantling of environmental protections and enforcement agencies has emboldened these criminal organizations, which have now become “well connected, well established and very strong.”

  • From agribusiness to oil to nuclear power and submarines: welcome to anti-environmental Putin-Bolsonaro alliance (commentary)

    - Brazil’s dependence on Russian fertilizers has contributed to Jair Bolsonaro’s friendly relationship with Vladimir Putin as well as environmental impacts in the South American nation.- In this editorial Nikolas Kozloff, an American academic, author and photojournalist, reviews some of the implications of the growing ties between the two leaders, including deforestation in the Amazon, extractive industries, and infrastructure projects.- This article is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily of Mongabay.

  • Young Indigenous leaders demand greater say in climate solutions at global youth strike

    - Young Indigenous activists are calling for greater inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in climate solutions as the Fridays for Future (FFF) wraps up its international meeting with a strike.- Community land tenure is not only seen as a solution to the world’s climate change issues, but also as a way to address Indigenous rights abuses.- Darragh Conway, lead legal counsel at Climate Focus told Mongabay that IPLCs play a crucial role in fulfilling the Paris Agreement’s climate goals.

  • As the Amazon burns, only the weather can ward off a catastrophe, experts say

    - The Brazilian Amazon saw the highest number of fires for the month of June in 15 years, with 2,562 major fires detected, an increase of 11.14% over 2021.- The first half of the year had 7,533 major fires, the most since 2019, according to data from the national space research institute.- On June 23, the Brazilian government issued a decree banning the use of fires to manage forests throughout the country for the next 120 days.- Experts say they’re skeptical about this ban, noting that similar measures failed to stop the burning in previous years, and say the weather is the only thing that can help curb the increase in fires as the dry season unfolds.

  • Brazil’s new deforestation data board sparks fear of censorship of forest loss, fires

    - A new council set by the Brazilian government to vet deforestation and forest fire data from the country’s space agency has been widely slammed as a political ploy to aid President Jair Bolsonaro’s reelection bid.- The National Institute of Space Research (INPE) has provided and analyzed deforestation and forest fire data in the Amazon since 1988 and is globally renowned for its monitoring expertise, but was left out of the new council.- The Bolsonaro government has questioned the credibility of INPE’s data since taking office in 2019, drawing outrage from scientists and researchers for claiming that data showing a spike in deforestation under Bolsonaro was false.- Experts have raise concerns that the new council could prevent the release of annual deforestation data, scheduled at the same time as this year’s elections, that are expected to show an alarming increase in both forest loss and fires.