Deforestation in Atlantic Forest up 27.2% in one year

Minas Gerais is the state with the highest deforestation rate

Published on 29/05/2020 - 15:50 By Flávia Albuquerque - São Paulo

Deforestation in the Atlantic Forest increased 27.2 percent from 2018 to 2019 compared to 2017–2018, according a report in the Atlantic Forest Atlas, released by the SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation and the National Space Research Institution (INPE). The percentage accounts for a total of 14,502 hectares. In the previous period, 11,399 hectares have been deforested.

The state atop the ranking with highest deforestation rates is Minas Gerais, with losses totaling nearly 5 thousand hectares of native forest. Bahia comes second, with 2,767 hectares. The three leading states saw an increase in deforestation of 47, 78, and 35 percent from the previous period.

According to SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation director for Public Policies Mario Mantovani, the expansion in the deforestation of the Atlantic Forest observed shows that the destruction of the environment has not taken place in the Amazon forest alone. “The fact is alarming, since there is only 12.4 percent of Atlantic Forest left, the biome that has lost most of its forest in the country thus far,” he said.

In the view of SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation executive director and Atlas coordinator Marcia Hirota, this discovery is disappointing, as deforestation is still seen to happen in the same regions: “We have observed deforestation in the interior and the edge of the Atlantic Forest, like the cerrado in Minas Gerais, Bahia, and Piauí, in addition to regions with Brazilian pines in Paraná. Since these are previously mapped out areas, deforestation could have been prevented by the government. It is deplorable that they keep destroying our natural forests year after year.”

In the opposite direction, the Atlas shows that the states of Alagoas, Ceará, Espírito Santo, Goiás, Paraíba, Pernambuco, and Rio de Janeiro saw no deforestation. Alagoas and Rio Grande do Norte were able to bring deforestation above three hectares down to zero, whereas Rio Grande do Norte reported 13 hectares deforested.

“In many states where deforestation was brought to zero the so-called ant effect may happen, where deforestation is too little to be detected by satellites, so the native forest is devastated little by little, especially by the advance of housing and urban expansion,” she explained.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Maria Claudia/Denise Griesinger

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