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Amazon deforestation rates fall 89% for 2007

Amazon deforestation rates fall 89% in Mato Grosso state for April 2007

Amazon deforestation rate falls 89% for April 2007
June 8, 2007

Deforestation rates fell by 89 percent in the Brazilian Amazon state of Mato Grosso for April 2007 compared with April 2006, according to the System Alert for Deforestation, an innovative deforestation monitoring program backed from Brazilian NGO Imazon with support from the Moore Foundation, USAID, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Avina.

Mato Grosso, which has suffered some of the highest rates of deforestation of any state in the Brazilian Amazon, lost 2,268 square kilometers of forest between August 2006 and April 2007, a decline of 62 percent from the year earlier period when 5,968 square kilometers were cleared. Imazon says it is likely that deforestation for the August 2006-July 2007, the dry season when large areas are typically burned, will likely be lower than last year’s 6,086 square kilometers.

Image courtesy of the Bulletin Forest Transparency.

Imazon says the reduction of deforestation in Mato Grosso can be attributed to economic trends, including falling agricultural prices (especially for grains and meat) and the effects of currency exchange rates, and steps taken to reduce illegal deforestation, like increase law enforcement and the establishment of protected areas.

Almost 70 percent of recent Amazon forest clearing has occurred in Mato Grosso, a state where tropical forest has rapidly been converted for cattle pasture and industrial soybean farms. In 2003, one of the worst years on record for deforestation, 20 percent of Mato Grosso’s forests were converted to cropland. Researchers have found a strong correlation between deforestation and the average annual price of soybeans.

Overall the Brazilian Amazon has lost more than 700,00 square kilometers of forest, or around 18% of the region’s cover, since the 1970s. Scientists say forest loss may be drying the Amazon putting it at greater risk of forest fire and drought.

Citation: Bulletin Forest Transparency in the State of Mato Grosso n º 06 Souza Jr, C.; Veríssimo.; Micol, L. & Guimarães, S. 2007

Image courtesy of the Bulletin Forest Transparency.

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