Destruction of Brazil’s cerrado, a woody savanna that covers 20 percent of the country, slowed during the 2008-2009, reports Brazil’s Ministry of Environment.
Data from Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE) shows that cerrado conversion amounted to 7,637 square kilometers between 2008 and 2009, down from the 14,179 square kilometers cleared annually from 2002 to 2008. More current data is not yet available.
Cerrado loss during the period was highest in the state of Maranhão, which lost 2,338 sq km.
Conversion of cerrado for cattle pasture
Conversion of cerrado for agriculture and cattle pasture has emerged as one of Brazil’s biggest sources of greenhouse gas emissions in recent years. Cerrado loss has outpaced that of the Amazon rainforest.
Last September Brazil unveiled the Action Plan to Prevent and Control Deforestation and Wildfires in the Cerrado Biome (PPCerrado), a $200 million initiative to protect the cerrado. PPCerrado is part of Brazil’s ambitious program to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions 40 percent from a projected 2020 baseline.