Amazon deforestation tracking higher in Brazil

/ Rhett A. Butler

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon continues to rise off historic lows according to satellite data released this week by Imazon, a Brazil-based NGO.

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon continues to rise off historic lows according to satellite data released this week by Imazon, a Brazil-based NGO.

Imazon’s Deforestation Alert System, which tracks deforestation on a monthly basis, detected 487 square kilometers of forest clearing during October 2012, a rise of 377 percent over October 2011. Worryingly it is the second straight month with markedly higher deforestation. September’s figure was 154 percent above the year-earlier period.

Imazon reported than more than 60 percent of deforestation in October occurred on private land holdings. Two-thirds of deforestation took place in the states of Pará and Mato Grosso.

Accumulated deforestation from August 2012 to October 2012 totaled 1,152 sq km, an increase of 125 percent over the August 2011 to October 2011 period.

The rise is deforestation threatens to reverse a recent trend of slowing forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon. Since 2004, the annual deforestation rate has plunged by more then three-quarters in the region.

Official deforestation data for the year ending July 2012 is expected to be released in coming weeks.

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