Nearly 10 thousand km² of Amazon deforested in one year

The survey covers August 2018 to July 2019

Published in 19/11/2019 - 18:28 By Pedro Ivo de Oliveira - Brasília

Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (Inpe) found the deforested areas in the Amazon amounted to 9,762 km² from August 2018 to July 2019. The area of deforested native vegetation expanded 29.54 percent from the previous period, August 2017 to July 2018.

Figures were obtained through satellite images generated under a deforestation monitoring project named Prodes, which publishes reports yearly.

During an event in São Paulo on Monday (Nov. 18), Environment Minister Ricardo Salles attributed the number to the magnitude of illicit economic activities in the so-called Amazônia Legal—an area of 5 million km², 59 percent of the Brazilian territory, including all of eight states (Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, and Tocantins) plus a portion of Maranhão.

“[The rate] is far from what we wanted, but it’s far from the three-digit numbers that were published. We want an environmentalism that yields results. We need a sustainable economic alternative to the Amazon region,” Salles argued.

According to Prodes data, the Northern state of Pará accounted for nearly 39.56 percent of the deforested area. Mato Grosso, Amazonas, and Rondônia come next, with 17.26, 14.56, and 12.75 percent, respectively. Altogether, these four states added up to 84 percent of the terirtoy deforested in one year.

As per estimates by the Real-Time Deforestation Detection System (Deter), which keeps track of the progress of deforestation on a daily basis, deforestation in 2019 was estimated at 6.8 thousand km². However, the Prodes report showed that 9,762 km² of native vegetation area were destroyed. The rate is at its highest since 2009, according to Inpe data.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Juliana Andrade / Nira Foster

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