Independent assessment confirms drop in Amazon deforestation for 2011-2012

August 21, 2012

Annual deforestation in Brazil based on Brazilian government data.

Independent analysis has confirmed a drop in deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon for the year ended July 31, 2012.

The assessment, released by Brazil-based Imazon, is consistent with a sharp decline in deforestation reported by the Brazilian government earlier this month.

Imazon's data shows accumulated deforestation between August 2011 and July 2012 amounting to 1,047 sq km, down 36 percent relative to the same period a year earlier. The data is from SAD, Imazon's near-real-time system for detecting deforestation. SAD however is not meant for estimating annual change in forest cover. It has relatively coarse resolution, making it less accurate than Imazon's other system, which typically generates estimates toward the end of the calendar year. Nevertheless, the results seem to indicate that deforestation is continuing to slow in the Brazilian part of the Amazon rainforest. Since 2004, the annual rate of forest clearing is down nearly 80 percent in the region.

Imazon also released data on forest degradation or disturbance, which typically results from logging and small fires, and often proceeds outright deforestation. It found forest degradation recorded by SAD plunged 69 percent from 6,389 sq km between August 2010 and July 2011 to 2,002 sq km for the 2011-2012 period.

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Independent assessment confirms drop in Amazon deforestation for 2011-2012.