Annual deforestation in the Amazon down 22.3%

The data show the best result since 2019

Published on 10/11/2023 - 11:05 By Pedro Rafael Vilela - Brasília

Deforestation in the Legal Amazon from August 2022 to July 2023 reached 9,001 km², down 22.3 percent from the previous year (2021/2022), the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe) stated Thursday (Nov. 9).

The data come from the Project for Monitoring Deforestation in the Legal Amazon by Satellite (Prodes), a system maintained by Inpe which calculates annual forest suppression in the nine states that make up the Legal Amazon.

With the result, deforestation was the lowest in five years, when it stood at 7,500 km² between 2018 and 2019. Prodes monitoring is carried out between August of one year and July of the following year, between the forest’s driest seasons, and is considered the most reliable and accurate result by scientists.

“Behind this, there’s President Lula’s political decision of zero deforestation; behind this, there’s the political decision that the plan should be a cross-cutting policy, and, behind this, there’s the government’s integrated action to achieve these results,” said Minister for the Environment and Climate Change Marina Silva at a press conference on the data.

Between August and December last year, the deforestation alerts reported by Deter—which is an alert system also maintained by Inpe—registered a 54 percent surge under the previous government, the minister when on to note. This trend was reversed this year, when the reduction in vegetation loss in the Amazon stood at 42 percent.

In the 70 municipalities considered to be the most heavily deforested, Inpe reported a drop of 42.1 percent this year compared to the last. Among the states, a significant drop of 40 percent was seen in Amazonas, after three years of high deforestation. Deforestation also fell in Pará (-21%) and Rondônia (-42%), but rose by nine percent in the state of Mato Grosso between August 2022 and July 2023.

Compared to last year, the reduction in deforestation in the Amazon totaled 2,593 km², which, according to Inpe, represents an avoided emission of 133 million tons of carbon equivalent. This volume represents a decline of 7.5 percent in national CO² emissions. The Brazilian government’s current goal is to eliminate deforestation in the biome by 2030.

Measures

Among the efforts that led the government to reverse the upward trend in forest suppression in the Amazon is the increase in fines and embargoes issued by the Brazilian Institute for the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources (Ibama) and the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio).

In the case of Ibama, a 104 percent expansion in fines (5,169) was recorded this year. ICMBio—which manages conservation units, like national parks—reported a 320 percent increase in fines, totaling 1,700 sanctions. As a result, these areas showed a 58 percent slump in deforestation.

“There was a significant increase in Ibama’s fines and embargoes following the adoption of remote technology for fines and embargoes, the seizure of production in embargoed areas and the destruction of the goods seized in these areas,” said André Lima, extraordinary secretary for Deforestation Control and Territorial Environmental Planning.

Among other measures taken by the government, Lima cited the reinstallation of the Technical Chamber for the Allocation of Public Lands, the resumption of the Amazon Fund, and the updating of the Safra Plan in a bid to foster low-carbon agriculture as structuring efforts.

Translation: Fabrício Ferreira -  Edition: Nádia Franco

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