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January deforestation in the Amazon highest in 14 years

Amazon rainforest in Brazil

Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

  • Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon last month was the highest of any January dating back to 2008, reports Brazil’s national space research agency INPE.
  • According to data released today, 430 square miles of rainforest was chopped down in January, a 400% rise over January 2021.
  • However, month-to-month deforestation recorded by INPE’s alert system can be highly variable, especially during the rainy season from November through March when cloud cover obscures vast areas of the Amazon.

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon last month was the highest of any January dating back to 2008, reports Brazil’s national space research agency INPE.

According to data released today, 430 square miles of rainforest was chopped down in January, a 400% rise over January 2021 when 86 square kilometers was lost. The average extent of deforestation in January for the past 15 years has been 171 square kilometers.

January deforestation 2008-2022, according to INPE.
Deforestation between Aug 1 and Jan 31 2008-2022, according to INPE’s DETER system.

However, month-to-month deforestation recorded by INPE’s alert system — called DETER — can be highly variable, especially during the rainy season when cloud cover obscures vast areas of the Amazon. Indeed, deforestation in December 2021 was 60% below the level registered in December 2020.

INPE’s annual deforestation monitoring system — called PRODES — is used for tracking long-term trends in the Brazilian Amazon, which contains about one third of the world’s remaining tropical rainforest.

Monthly deforestation according to INPE’s DETER system and Imazon’s SAD system.

According to preliminary PRODES data, deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon last year reached the highest level since 2008. Forest loss in the region has been trending upward since 2012.