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.

  • 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.