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Amazon deforestation up moderately in August, but forest degradation falls

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon continues to be slightly higher than this time last year, reports a new bulletin from Imazon, a Brazilian NGO.

Imazon’s near-real time deforestation monitoring system (SAD) detected a 15 percent rise in deforestation this past August relative to August a year ago. Overall 240 square kilometers of forest were cleared.

49 percent of deforestation in August occurred in the state of Pará. Rondônia (19 percent), Mato Grosso (15 percent), and Amazonas (9 percent) followed.

Imazon reported a sharp drop in forest degradation over last August, with the area affected by fire, selective logging, and other forms of significant disturbance falling from 1,555 square kilometers to 131 sq km.

INPE, Brazil’s National Space Agency, is expected to release its deforestation data for August soon. INPE uses a different system for short-term tracking of deforestation.

The annual estimate for deforestation will be released later this year. The annual estimate is based on higher resolution satellite imagery and is considerably more precise than the near-real time systems.

Deforestation from August 2010-July 2011 is expected to be 10 to 20 percent higher than the year earlier period, when forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon was the lowest since annual record keeping began in 1988.

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