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: 2020-Oct-8
|Month||Degradation||Deforestation||Mining||Wildfire scar||Selective Cut|
Trailing twelve months of data
Tracking data on a 12-month basis adjusts for seasonality and is a better indicator of trends than month-to-month data.
|Month||Degradation||Deforestation||Mining||Wildfire scar||Selective Cut|
Amazon deforestation jumps sharply in April
- Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon surged during the month of April, ending a streak of three consecutive months where forest clearing had been lower than the prior year.- The rise in deforestation came despite a high-profile pledge from Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to rein in deforestation in Earth’s largest rainforest.- According to preliminary deforestation alert data released Friday by Brazil’s national space research institute INPE, deforestation in the Brazilian portion of the Amazon amounted to 581 square kilometers in April, a 43% increase over April 2020- However, by INPE’s count, deforestation is still pacing behind last year’s rate, though that conclusion is contradicted by Imazon, a group that independently monitors forest clearing in the region.
Karipuna people sue Brazil government for alleged complicity in land grabs
- Leaders of the Karipuna Indigenous group in Brazil are suing the government for what they say is complicity in the continued invasion and theft of their land.- Findings by Greenpeace and the Catholic Church-affiliated Indigenous Missionary Council (CIMI) show 31 land claims overlapping onto the Karipuna Indigenous Reserve, while 7% of the area has already been deforested or destroyed.- The Karipuna Indigenous, who rebuilt their population to around 60 in the last few decades from just eight members who survived mass deaths by disease that followed their forced contact with the outside world in the 1970s, are seeking damages of $8.2 million, the right to permanent protection, and the cancellation of all outsider land claims to their territory.- Land grabbing has been fueled by the political rhetoric and action of President Jair Bolsonaro and his allies, who are seeking to drastically reduce protected areas in the Amazon and weaken environmental protections, activists and experts say.
Brazil’s Bolsonaro vowed to work with Indigenous people. Now he’s investigating them
- At least two top Indigenous leaders in Brazil, Sônia Guajajara and Almir Suruí, were recently summoned for questioning by the federal police over allegations of slander against the government of President Jair Bolsonaro.- Both probes were prompted by complaints filed by Funai, the federal agency for Indigenous affairs, just a week after Bolsonaro pledged at a global leaders’ climate summit to work together with Indigenous peoples to tackle deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.- The NGO Human Rights Watch said it’s “deeply concerned” about the government’s moves and called any retaliation against Indigenous peoples a “flagrant abuse of power,” while APIB, Brazil’s main Indigenous association, called the government’s approach a “clear attempt to curtail freedom of expression.”- Under Bolsonaro, deforestation in Brazil has reached its highest level since 2008, invasions of indigenous territories increased 135% in 2019, and the persecution of government critics under a draconian national security law has skyrocketed.
‘Zero illegal deforestation’ – One more Bolsonaro distortion (commentary)
- At U.S. President Joe Biden’s virtual climate summit on Earth Day, 22 April, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro promised “zero illegal deforestation by 2030.”- “Zero illegal deforestation” can be achieved in two ways: by stopping deforestation, and by legalizing the deforestation that is taking place. The second path is in full swing.- A series of laws facilitating “land grabbing” (which in Brazil means large-scale illegal appropriation of government land) is being fast-tracked in the National Congress with support from Bolsonaro.- Once grabbed land is legalized, the deforestation on it can be “amnestied” and subsequent deforestation legally permitted. The end result is more deforestation. All deforestation, legal or not, causes climate change. This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.
Criticizing Brazil over Amazon conservation will likely backfire (commentary)
- Although Brazilians share a concern for the Amazon, and even hosted the groundbreaking Earth Summit in 1992, polls show less consensus on who is responsible for Amazon deforestation, who is best addressing this problem, or the role of foreign actors.- When activists or leaders from abroad single out Brazil and its president as bad actors on the environment, they risk potential backlash from Brazilians who often view such attacks as a double standard.- The heavy-handed tone that the Biden Administration has adopted may create unfortunate roadblocks to the progress which is possible, argue two authors from the Amazon Environmental Research Institute and the University of São Paulo.- This article is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily Mongabay.
We need more rewilding and connections to nature, says Enrique Ortiz
- Enrique Ortiz is a Peruvian biologist who has been working in conservation in Latin America since the 1970s. Today he works at the Andes Amazon Fund, a philanthropic initiative that has helped establish 79 protected areas and get 18 Indigenous territories titled.- Ortiz says the pandemic has been “terrible and tragic” for both people and the environment, with a rise in poverty, violence against environmental defenders, and environmental crime and degradation.- But he also notes surprising resilience where communities and local governments have continued protecting wilderness despite COVID-19.- Ortiz spoke about these issues and more during an April 2021 conversation with Mongabay founder Rhett A. Butler.
As climate summit unfolds, no Biden-Bolsonaro Amazon deal forthcoming
- The United States and Brazil have been conducting closed door negotiations to broker an Amazon rainforest protection agreement — with the U.S. and other nations tentatively to provide significant funding, and Brazil possibly agreeing to pragmatic measures to end deforestation.- However, as the global Climate Leaders Summit progressed today, it became apparent that those talks are likely stalemated, with no deal announced, nor likely anytime soon.- Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has made it clear that Amazon conservation is dependent on a big financial investment by the United States. However, Amazon deforestation continued soaring through March, even as critics offered substantial proof Brazil is insincere in its environmental commitments.- For example, new federal rules make it nearly impossible to collect fines for environmental crimes. Also, Brazil has made suspect adjustments to its Paris Climate Agreement carbon reduction targets, allowing it to meet its goals on paper, even as it continues cutting down forests and releasing greenhouse gases.
The political economy of the Pan-Amazon (book excerpt)
- Tim Killeen provides an update on the state of the Amazon in his new book “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon Wilderness – Success and Failure in the Fight to save an Ecosystem of Critical Importance to the Planet.”- The book provides an overview of the topics most relevant to the conservation of the Amazon’s biodiversity, ecosystem services and Indigenous cultures, as well as a description of the conventional and sustainable development models vying for space within the regional economy.- Mongabay will publish excerpts from the Killeen’s book, which will be released by The White Horse Press in serial format over the course of the next year. In this first installment, we provide a section from Chapter One: The State of The Amazon.- This post is an except from a book. The views expressed are those of the author, not necessarily Mongabay.
As COP26 looms and tropical deforestation soars, REDD+ debate roars on
- The United Nations REDD+ program (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation) has been operating for more than 13 years as a multipurpose initiative, intended to curb deforestation in tropical nations, sequester forest carbon, combat climate change, protect biodiversity, and aid poor rural communities.- The REDD+ mechanism is largely paid for by wealthy industrialized countries contributing funds to less developed tropical nations, including those in the Amazon, Congo Basin and Indonesia.- Some 600 REDD+ projects have been initiated to date (with some 400 still active), mostly implemented by socioenvironmental NGOs or for-profit project developers, and financed by more than $10 billion in donor funds in more than 65 countries. But evidence of avoided deforestation and reduced carbon emissions is controversial.- With the COP26 Glasgow climate summit looming in November, Mongabay invited experts to weigh in on the global initiative’s successes and failings, with some supporting expansion of REDD+ via revised program rules and funding, while others support major reforms, or even the initiative’s replacement.
Intimidation of Brazil’s enviro scientists, academics, officials on upswing
- Increasingly, Brazilian environmental researchers, academics and officials appear to be coming under fire for their scientific work or views, sometimes from the Jair Bolsonaro government, but also from anonymous Bolsonaro supporters.- Researchers and academics have come under attack for their scientific work on agrochemicals, deforestation and other topics, as well as for their socio-environmental views. Attacks have taken the form of anonymous insults and death threats, gag orders, equipment thefts, and even attempted kidnapping.- A range of intimidation is being experienced by officials, including firings and threats of retaliation for institutional criticism at IBAMA, Brazil’s environment agency, ICMBio, the Chico Mendes Institute of Biodiversity Conservation overseeing Brazil’s national parks, and FUNAI, the Indigenous affairs agency.- “Whose interests benefit from the denial of the data on deforestation… from criminalizing the action of NGOs and environmentalists? What we are witnessing is a coordinated action to make it easier for agribusiness to advance into Indigenous territories and standing forest,” says one critic.