Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is lower in 2012 relative to the same period last year according to satellite-based data released by Imazon, an NGO.
Imazon’s Deforestation Alert System (SAD) detected 830 square kilometers of clearing between August 2011 to April 2012, down about 35 percent from the 1268 square kilometers recorded at this time last year. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon last year was the lowest since annual record keeping began in the late 1980s.
Imazon’s deforestation tracking system also found a sharp decline in forest degradation, which often proceeds outright deforestation. Forest degradation is typically the result of logging and fire.
Brazil measures its annual deforestation at the end of July during the dry season when cloud cover is at a minimum. Final data is typically released in December. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon usually peaks in the July-September period.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has fallen nearly 80 percent since 2004. Factors include stepped-up law enforcement, incentives for utilizing already deforested lands, an increase in the extent of protected areas and indigenous reserves, better monitoring of forest areas, emerging payments for ecosystem services programs, and macroeconomic trends that make Brazilian agricultural products more expensive for export, reducing profitability. But environmentalists fear that proposed changes to the country’s Forest Code, which mandates how much forest a landowner is required to maintain, could reverse progress in reducing deforestation.
Brazil accounts for more than 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest.
(04/05/2012) Brazil can reduce Amazon deforestation to zero by 2020 while boosting rural livelihoods and maintaining healthy economic growth, the governor of Pará told mongabay.com on the sidelines of the Skoll World Forum, a major conference on social entrepreneurship, last week. Governor Simao Jatene is hopeful that a revolution in land management and governance can turn the tide in Pará, a state that is three times the size of California and has lost more Amazon forest — 90,000 sq km of Amazon forest since 1996 — over the past decade-and-a-half than any other in Brazil.
(04/26/2012) Brazil’s Congress on Wednesday approved controversial changes to the country’s Forest Code, a move supporters argue will simplify environmental laws and ease agricultural expansion, but environmentalists say will spark deforestation and grant amnesty for past illegal logging. The measure needs to be approved by President Dilma Rousseff to become law.
(03/07/2012) A coalition of 200 organizations, known as the Comitê Brasil in Defense of Forests and Sustainable Development, rallied today in Brasilia against proposed changes to Brazil’s Forestry Code. The code, which was supposed to be voted on this week but has been delayed to shore up more support, would make changes in over 40-year-old code that some conservationists fear could lead to further deforestation in the Amazon. Protestors called on the President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff, to veto the bill as it stands now, holding signs exclaiming, “Veta Dilma!” (“Veto it Dilma!”).