Amazon deforestation jumps 69% in 2008
August 31, 2008
INPE data shows that 8,147 square kilometers (3,145 square miles) of forest were cleared between August 2007 and August 2008, a 69 percent increase over the 4,820 square kilometers (1,861 square miles) razed in the previous period [see note below]. Degradation due to logging affects a larger area but is not reported in INPE figures.
The rise in forest destruction had been expected. High prices for beef and soy — commodities increasingly produced in the Amazon region — have spurred an uptick in land speculation and new agricultural development.
Brazil accounted for the bulk of tropical forest loss between 2000 and 2005.
The Brazilian Amazon consists of about 4.1 million square kilometers, of which about 3.4 million are forested. Overall about 20 percent of the Brazilian Amazon has been cleared since the late 1970s. Still the Amazon remains the largest rainforest on Earth. More than 60 percent of the forest lies in Brazil.
[*] The new figures comes from INPE's DETER (for Real-time Detection of Deforestation) system for monitoring deforestation. DETER detects an area of deforestation of greater than 25 hectares. Brazil's other satellite system is known as PRODES (for Program to Calculate Deforestation in the Amazon). It can detect areas of deforestation of more than 6.5 hectares. DETER is used as an alert system to monitor deforestation in progress, while PRODES is used to make the final determination of deforestation over a given period. INPE says that DETER data should not be used to estimate annual rates of deforestation.
Carlos Minc, Brazil's Environment Minister, has said he expects the final deforestation figures for 2008 to fall between 12,000-15,000 square kilometers. 11,532 square kilometers were cleared in 2007.
Future threats to the Amazon rainforest
(7/31/2008) Between June 2000 and June 2008, more than 150,000 square kilometers of rainforest were cleared in the Brazilian Amazon. While deforestation rates have slowed since 2004, forest loss is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This is a look at past, current and potential future drivers of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.
Global Commodities Boom Fuels New Assault on Amazon
(6/20/2008) With soaring prices for agricultural goods and new demand for biofuels, the clearing of the world's largest rain forest has accelerated dramatically. Unless forceful measures are taken, half of the Brazilian Amazon could be cut, burned or dried out within 20 years.