Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE) publishes land use change data on a monthly basis using its DETER-B system (Sistema de Detecção do Desmatamento na Amazônia Legal em Tempo Real). Below is a table with the monthly data since the system went public in August 2016. All figures are square kilometers.
Last update: 2021-Sep-10
|Month||Deforestation||Degradation||Deforestation with Exposed Soil||Deforestation with Vegetation||Mining||Wildfire scar||Selective Cut Type 1+2|
BR-319 highway hearings: An attack on Brazil’s interests and Amazonia’s future (commentary)
- Brazil’s proposed reconstruction of the BR-319, a highway connecting Manaus (in central Amazonia) with the “arc of deforestation” in southern Amazonia, would bring deforesters to vast areas of what remains of the Amazon forest.- The forest areas in western Amazonia that would be opened by planned roads connecting to the BR-319 are vital to maintaining rainfall that supplies water to São Paulo and other major urban and agricultural areas outside the Amazon region.- Holding public hearings allows a “box to be checked” in the licensing process — a key step in obtaining official approval for the highway project. The hearing was held despite impacted Indigenous peoples not having been consulted, among other irregularities.- This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.
Bolsonaro evades genocide blame amid Indigenous deaths by invaders, COVID-19
- A Senate inquiry has opted not to call for genocide charges against President Jair Bolsonaro over his failure to sufficiently protect Brazil’s Indigenous population from the COVID-19 pandemic and the escalating illegal invasions of their reserves.- The final report nevertheless accuses Bolsonaro of crimes against humanity, saying he took advantage of the pandemic to harm traditional communities.- The Senate’s backtrack on the genocide call comes a week after two Indigenous children in the Yanomami reserve were killed in an accident involving illegal mining machinery.- The Yanomami, like other Indigenous reserves across Brazil, has faced a rising influx of invaders under Bolsonaro’s watch, which prosecutors attribute in part to the president’s anti-Indigenous rhetoric and support for illegal mining inside these territories.
$200 million in gold extracted in Amazon mine through illegal licenses
- Gana Gold generated R$ 1.1 billion (US$ 200 million) in revenue using illegally-obtained environmental licenses in Brazil, equivalent to 3 tons of gold extracted.- By the company’s own reckoning, its operations should be producing annual revenues of around R$ 30 million ($6 million) if operating within licensing limits.- Located inside a conservation area, the company has extracted 32 times more gold than the projected estimate it made to the regulating agency.- An embargo has been placed on Gana Gold along with R$ 10 million (US$ 2 million) in fines following reports of illegal activity.
Brazil reports increase in Amazon logging
- Selective forest cutting in the Amazon is on the rise, according to data released on Friday by the Brazilian government.- INPE reported a 77% increase in the rate of cutting that’s typically associated with logging, from 646 square kilometers in September 2020 to 1,145 square kilometers last month. Selective cutting in the region currently stands at the highest level in at least five years.- The rise in logging is significant because logged areas in the Amazon are more likely to be eventually deforested. Selectively logged forests also face higher fire risk due to drier conditions relative to intact rainforests.
Facebook to block illegal sales of protected Amazon rainforest lands
- On Friday, Facebook announced it would crack down on the illegal sales of protected Amazon rainforest land via its platform, according to a blog post by the company.- The move comes after a BBC investigation found that the company’s Marketplace product was being used to broker sales of protected lands, including Indigenous territories and national forest reserves.- Experts raised doubts about the effectiveness of Facebook’s approach since the social media company doesn’t require users to specify the coordinates of the land they are selling.- “If they don’t make it mandatory for sellers to provide the location of the area on sale, any attempt at blocking them will be flawed,” Brenda Brito, a Brazilian lawyer and scientist told BBC News. “They may have the best database in the world, but if they don’t have some geo-location reference, it won’t work.”
Brazil leads Amazon in forest loss this year, Indigenous and protected areas hold out
- Satellite imagery brings us a first look at this year’s deforestation hotspots, areas where forest cover was lost in high densities across the Amazon, amounting to more than 860,000 hectares (2.1 million acres).- The majority of deforestation (76%) occurred in Brazil and was clustered around roads, according to a recent report from Amazon Conservation’s Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP); many of the areas deforested this year in Brazil have also burned.- In Colombia, deforestation hotspots this year were in and around numerous protected areas, including Tinigua and Chiribiquete national parks, as well as Indigenous reserves, particularly Yari-Yaguara II and Nukak Maku; in Peru, rice farming and a new Mennonite colony drove recent deforestation.- Of primary forests loss across the western Amazon between 2017 and 2020, three-quarters were outside protected areas and Indigenous territories, highlighting the importance of these key land use designations for safeguarding the remaining Amazon rainforest.
Countering Bolsonaro’s UN speech, Greenpeace releases Amazon deforestation photos
- Hours after Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro painted a rosy picture of his administration’s environmental record during a United Nations speech, Greenpeace and other environmental groups released a set of photos showing continued deforestation and fires in Earth’s largest rainforest.- Speaking to the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Tuesday, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro cited a 32 percent reduction in deforestation in the month of August relative to a year ago, the country’s near decade-old Forest Code, and lands set aside as Indigenous territories — which he’s fought to undermine and dismantle — as evidence of Brazil’s contributions toward mitigating climate change.- But activists pushed back on Bolsonaro’s statement, noting rising deforestation in the Amazon and his administration’s rollback of environmental laws and law enforcement, while publishing dramatic images captured in two Amazon states between September 14 and 17.- Brazil does have some of the strongest forest protection laws on the books among major tropical forest nations, but enforcement has been lax, especially under Bolsonaro, when the deforestation rate in the Amazon has climbed to the highest level since 2008. Bolsonaro’s reference to one month of deforestation data doesn’t reflect the trend of rising deforestation that he’s presided over since taking office in January 2019.
Fires in the Amazon have already impacted 90% of plant and animal species
- New study addresses the effects of fires on biodiversity loss in the world’s largest forest during the last two decades.- Researchers measured the impacts on the habitats of 14,000 species of plants and animals, finding that 93 to 95% suffered some consequence of the fires.- Primates were the most affected, as they depend on trees for movement, food and shelter. Rare and endemic species with restricted habitats suffered the strongest impacts.- The study assessed two decades of fires between 2001 and 2019 and confirmed the impact of environmental policies on deforestation cycles in the Amazon; law enforcement was concluded to have direct impact on the extent and volume of fires.
Illegal logging reaches Amazon’s untouched core, ‘terrifying’ research shows
- Satellite imagery shows that logging activity is spreading from peripheral areas of the Amazon toward the rainforest’s core, according to groundbreaking research.- The satellite-based mapping of seven of Brazil’s nine Amazonian states showed a “terrifying” pattern of logging advance that cleared an area three times the size of the city of São Paulo between August 2019 and July 2020 alone.- At the state level, lack of transparency in logging data makes it impossible to calculate how much of the timber production is illegal, experts say.- Evidence of cutting in Indigenous reserves and conservation units — where logging is prohibited — make clear that illegal logging accounts for much of the activity, according to the report.
Deforestation sweeps national park in Brazil as land speculators advance
- Between January and early September, 3,542 deforestation alerts have been confirmed in primary forest within Campos Amazônicos National Park, according to satellite data, representing a 37% jump over the average amount of forest loss for the previous five years.- Much of the occupation of the Campos Amazônicos park is happening through illegitimate land claims, fueled by hopes that protections on the park may be loosened in the future, environmentalists say. Even though the park is under federal protection, this hasn’t stopped invaders from falsely registering slices of it as their property.- Environmentalists warn the social and environmental impacts could be devastating. Campos Amazônicos wraps around the Tenharim do Igarapé Preto Indigenous Reserve, which was until recently under attack by illegal miners who descended on the territory in search of cassiterite; sources say the fresh incursions into Campos Amazônicos could put the area back at risk.- The park also holds one of the most striking enclaves of cerrado in the Amazon rainforest, housing stretches of shrubs, grasslands and dry forest typical of the savanna biome. Campos Amazônicos is also part of the Southern Amazon Conservation Corridor that represents one of the best-preserved stretches of the rainforest.