Amazon deforestation rises slightly to 4,600 square miles in 2008
November 28, 2008
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased slightly for the August 2007-July 2008 period, reports the country’s National Institute of Space Research (INPE). The rise is the first since 2004 when 27,379 square kilometers were destroyed, but is lower than forecast. The 2008 figure is the second-lowest annual loss since 1991.
INPE estimates that 11,968 square kilometers (4,600 square miles) of rainforest were cleared during the recent period, a 3.8 percent increase from the 11,532 sq km lost during the prior year. The figures are lower than forecasts put forth earlier this year, possibly due to the recent collapse in commodity prices. Clearing in the Amazon is increasingly linked to beef and grain markets — as prices rise, farmers and ranchers convert more rainforest land.
The Brazilian government has also stepped up efforts to rein in illegal forest-clearing, including enacting new environmental laws, establishing protected areas, and launching a series of highly-publicized raids on illicit logging and farming operations. In August President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva unveiled a $21 billion donation-based fund to finance conservation and sustainable development projects in the region. Norway has already committed a billion dollars to the initiative.
Deforestation figures from INPE. NOTE Conventional logging is not included in these figures, which count only complete clearing or conversion of forest land. Logging is considered “degradation”. By some estimates the area logged annually in Brazil is one to one-and-a-half times the area deforested.
While low commodity prices and increased government action may temper forest clearing in the Brazilian Amazon, Earth’s largest rainforest is far from safe. Regional climate trends indicate that large swathes of the Amazon are increasingly susceptible to drought and fire. Coupled with continued deforestation, degradation, and fragmentation, some researchers say the Amazon is approaching a critical tipping point which could see more than half of the forest damaged or destroyed within a generation.
The Brazilian Amazon accounts for roughly sixty percent of the Amazon rainforest. The bulk of Amazon deforestation occurs in Brazil, although clearing is increasing in Peru due to infrastructure expansion and logging.
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.
Brazil charges 81 with illegal Amazon deforestation
(11/2/2008) Brazil will file charges against 81 people accused of being the biggest destroyers of the Amazon rainforest, reports the Associated Press.
Wal-mart mulling contribution to Brazil’s Amazon rainforest fund
(10/26/2008) Wal-mart may contribute to Brazil’s fund for conserving the Amazon rainforest, said Brazilian Environment Minister Carlos Minc.
Brazil to have high resolution imagery for 86% of the Amazon by year end
(10/15/2008) Brazil will have high resolution imagery for 86 percent of its Amazon territory by the end of the year, according to Reuters. The images will help the country protect the Amazon rainforest and prosecute alleged environmental crimes, including illegal logging and agricultural expansion.
Slowing global economy will reduce Amazon deforestation
(10/8/2008) The global financial crisis will likely slow forest clearing in the Amazon rainforest, said Brazil’s environment minister. Falling commodity prices combined with tighter credit and increased aversion to risk will undermine the economics of activities — including logging and agricultural expansion — that are key drivers of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Forest clearing in the region has shown an increasingly tight correlation to beef and soy prices in recent years. Both products are produced on cleared rainforest lands.
Brazilian government is biggest destroyer of the Amazon rainforest
(9/30/2008) A Brazilian government agency changed with land distribution to the poor is the largest driver of deforestation since 2005, according to the country's environmental ministry.
Brazil plans to cut Amazon deforestation to zero by 2015
(9/26/2008) Brazil aims to cut net deforestation to zero by 2015 according to a plan that will be released by the government next week.
Brazil suspends Amazon road project until protected areas established
(9/26/2008) Brazil has temporarily suspended the paving of a major Amazon road pending demarcation of 13 neighboring protected areas, reports the Associated Press.
Brazil to establish oil palm plantations on degraded Amazon rainforest lands
(8/20/2008) Brazil will allow the establishment of oil palm plantations on degraded lands in the Amazon rainforest under a agreement signed between Brazil’s ministers of agriculture and the environment, reports Folha de S. Paulo.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon won’t increase significantly for 2008
(8/15/2008) Brazilian Environment Minister Carlos Minc said Thursday that Amazon deforestation for the 2007-2008 year will likely be comparable to the prior year. The announcement marks an abrupt turn-around for the Brazilian government which in April said that forest destruction was expected to increase for the first time since 2004.
Climate change to hurt Brazil’s farm exports by 2020
(8/11/2008) Climate change could have a significant impact on thye value of Brazil’s agricultural exports according to a study presented Monday at an agribusiness conference in Sao Paulo, reports the Financial Times.
Brazil to send more police into the Amazon to fight illegal logging
(7/23/2008) Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed two decrees Tuesday to rein in illegal forest clearing in the Amazon, reports the Associated Press (AP).
Amazon timber industry declares ban on illegal logging
(7/18/2008) The Brazilian state of Pará today announced a ban on the sales of illegally logged timber from the Amazon rainforests.