- Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has decreased for the eighth consecutive month, but damage is rising in the cerrado, a tropical woody grassland that’s adjacent to Earth’s largest rainforest.
- According to data released today by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE), forest clearing in November totaled 201 square kilometers, bringing the cumulative loss for the past 12 months to 5,206 square kilometers – 51% less than last year.
- The decline in deforestation has persisted despite one of the most severe droughts ever recorded in the Amazon.
- However, while deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has decreased, it has reached the highest level in at least five years in the cerrado.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has decreased for the eighth consecutive month, despite the region being affected by a severe drought.
According to the latest data from Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE), forest clearing in November totaled 201 square kilometers. This brings the cumulative loss for the past twelve months in Earth’s largest rainforest to 5,206 square kilometers, which is 51% less than the figure recorded during the same period last year.
Since January 2023, deforestation has reached 4,977 square kilometers, marking a 50% reduction compared to last year’s data.
The decline in deforestation has persisted despite one of the most severe droughts ever recorded in the Amazon. This drought has led to the drying up of rivers, contributed to widespread forest die-off, and created conditions conducive to the spread of fires in the region. As a result of the crisis, remote communities have been stranded, air pollution has intensified, and food security has been compromised, as reported by local sources.
However, while deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has decreased, it has continued to escalate in the cerrado—a tropical savanna located to the south and east of the Amazon. In November, deforestation in the cerrado amounted to 572 square kilometers, bringing the total loss over the past year to 7,594 square kilometers. That represents the highest level recorded since INPE introduced its current alert system in 2018.
Both the cerrado and the Amazon are targets for agricultural expansion in Brazil.
Monthly and 12-month- moving average data for deforestation alert data for the cerrado from INPE’s DETER system.
The data is released as Brazil positions itself as a leader in climate change mitigation efforts at the COP28 climate summit. Last week, Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva announced a $250 billion proposal aimed at protecting the world’s tropical forests.
Researchers warn that due to the combined effects of deforestation and climate change, the Amazon may be nearing a tipping point where vast areas of the rainforest could transition into a drier, cerrado-like ecosystem. Such a development could disrupt regional and global rainfall patterns, trigger the release of billions of tons of carbon, and lead to the extinction of countless species.
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