Friday, September 22, 2023

Deforestation data in the Brazilian Amazon

 The territory of the Amazon basin that belongs to Brazil registered last January a net loss of forest mass (deforestation) of 430.4 square kilometers, which is, five times more than the loss calculated in January 2021 and the figure highest for January since this type of calculation began from satellite images (in 2015-16).

The data on deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon have been estimated with the images obtained with equipment from the National Institute of Space Research of Brazil (INPE, official body) and can be consulted on its specialized page TerraBrasilis, although the INPE has not released any specific statement in this regard.

Deforestation data in the Brazilian Amazon
Monthly data of deforested area in the Amazon Basin of Brazil. (Source: TerraBrasilis / INPE)

As will be recalled, in recent years there have been major discrepancies between INPE scientists and Jair Bolsonaro’s government, which has criticized the dissemination of data that it considers contrary to its policy in the Amazon.

The data for December, January, and February are generally the least negative for the forests of the Amazon basin, according to satellite data from INPE in recent years. However, this month of January represents a strong increase compared to the same periods of previous years. In January 2021, for example, the estimated deforestation was 82.88 kilometers.

The data now published correspond to the measurement of deforestation carried out by INPE based on an alert system – for January there were 1,587 warnings – of alterations in the forest cover of the Amazon from the analysis of satellite images.

Despite being an estimate, the figure usually coincides with the actual final data, which is published at the close of each balance sheet (which in this case is presented in periods ranging from August of each year to July of the following year).

Official data indicates that between August 2020 and July 2021, the territory of the Amazon basin in Brazil lost 13,235 square kilometers of vegetation, a record figure in the last 15 years.

The growing deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon has been attributed by scientists and environmental groups to the permissiveness of the Jair Bolsonaro government and the relaxation of the control and inspection measures applied by this administration, in a commitment to unlimited economic exploitation.

In January, the fires in the Brazilian Amazon skyrocketed 54%, with 1,226 fire sources, compared to the same month of 2021, after the flames in the largest tropical forest on the planet had given a truce last year.


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