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: 2021-Nov-17

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


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.