Brazil Reports Less Deforestation in the Amazon

The Congo Basin Amazon forest

According to data from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE), deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has decreased. In the period from August 2022 to July 2023, there was a reduction of 22.3% compared to the same period in the previous year, marking the lowest value since 2019.

Approximately 9001 square kilometers were reported as deforested during this period, compared to around 11,500 square kilometers in the previous year. The annual deforestation rate, published since 1988, is measured from August of one year to July of the following year, as stated in the announcement. The results for 2023 include five months of the previous government’s term (August to December 2022) and seven months of the current government’s term (January to July 2023). The data is derived from the Prodes satellite monitoring program.

President Inácio Lula da Silva took office in January and has expressed his commitment to ending illegal deforestation by 2030. Under his predecessor, the far-right Jair Bolsonaro, deforestation had reached alarming levels. Experts and environmental officials warned that it could take years to reverse the trend after Bolsonaro cut funding and personnel in key agencies.

The Amazon rainforest spans nine countries, predominantly Brazil. It is one of the few remaining large primary forests globally, hosting more plant and animal species than any other place on Earth. Additionally, with its billions of trees, it serves as a crucial carbon sink.

While there have been previous reports of a decline in Amazon deforestation, the recent data indicates a notable decrease. In January, for instance, the clearing was below average, contributing to a relatively positive overall assessment for the beginning of 2023. Inpe scientists attribute monthly fluctuations to cloud cover, noting that deforestation in January was concealed in satellite images and only revealed in February.

Featured Image: The Congo Basin. Bobulix/Flickr