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|
In August 2016, the table data for the DETER columns switches from DETER to DETER-B, Brazil’s new deforestation detection system.
Repeated fires are silencing the Amazon, says new acoustic monitoring study
- Researchers recorded thousands of hours of sounds in areas that had been logged, burned once and burned multiple times along the “arc of deforestation” in the Brazilian Amazon.- In the forests with repeated fires, animal communication networks were quieter, with less diversity of sound than in logged forests or forests burned only once. This type of acoustic monitoring can be used as a cost-effective way to check the pulse of the forest.- The authors were surprised to find that insects, not birds, were the most obvious signal of forest degradation. Additionally, they found that amount of biomass in a forest doesn’t correlate with the level of biodiversity.- There’s a major difference in the biodiversity of a forest after one burn versus multiple burns, one author said, so protecting forests from repeated fires is still worthwhile.
Meet the 2022 Goldman Environmental Prize Winners
- This year marks the 33rd anniversary of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, which honors one grassroots activist from each of the six inhabited continents.- The 2021 prize winners are Alex Lucitante and Alexandra Narvaez from Ecuador; Chima Williams from Nigeria; Julien Vincent from Australia; Marjan Minnesma from the Netherlands; Nalleli Cobo from the United States; and Niwat Roykaew from Thailand
Caribbean incursion into Amazon sparked a flurry of life, with lessons for the future
- The vast wetland that used to sit in the heart of where the Amazon lies today received a more recent pulse of seawater than previously thought, a new study confirms — a phenomenon that contributed to the region’s species richness, including its iconic river dolphins.- The study also says the likeliest source of these marine incursions, some 23 million to 8.8 million years ago, was the Caribbean Sea, with the water surging inland down what is today the Orinoco River Basin in Venezuela.- Researchers say investigating the distant past of the Amazon can yield clues about its near future, given that the late Miocene was a period of global warming, with temperatures far higher than the 2°C (3.6°F) rise that the Paris Agreement is trying to prevent.- But the current rate of global warming is taking place on an exponentially shorter time scale, and combined with record rates of fires and deforestation, it gives animal and plant species no time to adapt, scientists say.
Stained by oil: A history of spills and impunity in Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia
- The reporting alliance ManchadosXelPetróleo (StainedByOil) tracked down government records of oil spill cases and fines against companies working in the Amazon of Peru, Colombia, Bolivia and Ecuador between 2011 and 2021. In Colombia, information was also requested for the Orinoquía.- One constant in the investigation was a lack of information and transparency, especially in Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia.- The database constructed from government documents revealed there were at least 282 cases against 72 oil companies in Peru and Colombia, and that around half have been fined for more than $55 million.- In all four countries, oil lots overlap with Indigenous territories and protected areas. There are 1,646 communities and 52 protected areas that partially or completely overlapping with extractive activities.
Researchers compile largest-ever photo database of Amazon wildlife
- Researchers have compiled more than 154,000 records of camera trap images form the Amazon Rainforest, recording 317 species of birds, mammals and reptiles.- This is the first study to compile and standardize camera trap images from across the Amazon at this scale, and covers Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela.- The authors say this camera trap data set opens up opportunities for new studies on forest fragmentation, habitat loss, climate change, and the human-caused loss of animals “in one of the most important and threatened tropical environments in the world.”
Drivers of Colombia’s peacetime deforestation weave a complex web
- When the Colombian government signed a historic peace accord with the paramilitary group FARC in 2016, conservationists waited to see what peace would mean for the environment.- New research shows how the forces driving deforestation in both war and in peace varied across the Colombian countryside between 2001 and 2018.- Researchers found that cattle ranching, coca cultivation, and the size of municipalities were strong predictors of forest loss across this period, but that their respective importance varied across localities.- Researchers say that considering the local drivers of forest loss can help improve both peacebuilding and environmental outcomes.
Indigenous group and locals sign agreement to protect sustainable livelihoods and culture
- Most of Colombia’s remaining 600 Indigenous Nukak people live in camps around Guaviare’s capital and see returning to their territory, a one million-hectare Amazonian reserve, as the only way to survive and live dignified lives.- A coexistence agreement signed between the Nukak and local campesinos is bringing the Indigenous community closer to returning to their territory and is meant to act as a stop-gap to their cultural eradication.- Nukak people living in camps suffer from high levels of malnutrition, skin infections, diarrhea, and deeply rooted social malaises, including high levels of drug use, sexual violence, and depression.- Promoting peace through the coexistence agreement and preventing deforestation are interconnected, says Patricia Tobón Yagarí of Colombia’s Truth Commission.
Illegal mining footprint swells nearly 500% inside Brazil Indigenous territories
- Illegal mining inside Indigenous territories and conservation units in Brazil increased in area by 495% and 301% respectively between 2010 and 2020, a new report shows.- The worst-affected Indigenous territories were the Kayapó, Munduruku and Yanomami reserves, with a combined area of nearly 10,000 hectares (25,000 acres) occupied by illegal miners.- The trend is driven by the increase in international prices of gold, tin and manganese — the metals typically mined inside the reserves — as well as lax enforcement and lack of economic alternatives.- While mining inside Indigenous territories and conservation units is banned under Brazil’s Constitution, the current government is pushing for legislation that would allow it.
In Brazil’s Amazon, Quilombolas fight the erasure of their African heritage
- In the 19th century, self-liberated Afro-Brazilian slaves took refuge in the remote jungles of what is today Pará state, where they established communities that today strive to maintain possession of their land.- After suffering from impacts on hunting and fishing caused by the construction of the Tucuruí hydroelectric dam, these Quilombolas are now caught up in land conflicts with palm oil companies.- At the same time, they face relentless attempts by Christian missionaries to erase their cultural traditions.
Pasture replaces large tract of intact primary forest in Brazilian protected area
- Satellites have detected forest clearing within the Triunfo do Xingu Environmental Protection Area (APA) this year, a legally protected area of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest.- Despite its status, 35% of the primary (or old-growth) forest within the APA was lost between 2006 and 2021, making it one of the most deforested slices of the Brazilian Amazon.- The APA was created in 2006 to serve as a buffer for vulnerable surrounding areas, such as the Apyterewa Indigenous Territory and the massive Terra do Meio Ecological Station, but deforestation has spilled over into both.- Deforestation in the region is largely driven by cattle ranching, but land grabbing and mining have also increased in recent years, with invaders emboldened by the rhetoric and policies of the current government.