Brazil confirmed drop in annual deforestation rates



Posted on 27 November 2012  | 
Aerial shot of Acre State showing forest fire. Amazonia, Brazil
© Mark Edwards / WWF-CanonEnlarge
The virtuous cycle of Brazil in monitoring Amazon deforestation should be applied in other Amazon countries, where deforestation is increasing.

Brazilian Environment Ministry announced on Tuesday (Nov, 27) a 27 per cent drop on annual deforestation rates for the period August 2011-July 2012 in relation to the last period. With 4.656 km2 of illegal deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, this is the lowest deforestation rate recorded by National Institute for Space Research (INPE) with its PRODES System since 1988, when the quantitative monitoring of Amazon deforestation has started.

Nevertheless, the deforestation patter seems to keep evolving, including by more dispersion and smaller areas. For that, Izabella Teixeira, Brazilian Environment Ministry, also announced that a new special satellites family is being developed by INPE to more accurate monitoring and re-oriented public policy planning from 2013. “Reducing the rates, make the challenges grow. With this new satellites technology we will see more”, said the ministry.

In relation to the commitments of voluntary targets for reducing emissions from deforestation, Izabella Teixeira stated that Brazil is anticipating the achievements of the voluntary goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from deforestation. “I dare say that this is the only good news on environment area this year in terms of climate change.”

Izabella Teixeira also stated that government ‘must work hard’ to stop illegal deforestation in the Amazon, “Our goal is to eliminate illegal deforestation in the Amazon by 2020”.

Historically deforestation rates have been reducing due to the higher level and multi-institutional engagement of the National Government, in areas such land use planning (mostly creation and strengthening of protected areas); control and patrolling, and promotion of sustainable economic activities.

Amazon countries

Nevertheless, the tendency of less deforestation rates in Brazil, unfortunately, is still not following the same path and speed in other Amazon countries. Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia have been facing an increase in deforestation due to different social and economic drivers which dynamics are still not completely clear and detailed yet.

In the case of Colombia and Ecuador the major drivers of deforestation probably are the increase of cattle ranching and plantations, even if in smaller scale individually. Small and larger scale ranching and farming seems also to be crucial elements in Bolivia. Gold and other mining, as well as oil, seem to be behind the deforestation tendencies in Peruvian and Ecuadorean Amazon, and already seem to be increasing the relatively small trends in also Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.

“Deforestation tendencies of the Andean Amazon countries together indicate that deforestation is probably increasing, due to demographic and economic movements towards their Amazon areas. There is a need to increase cooperation between Brazil and other Amazon countries in order to exchange technology, experiences and lessons learned”, explained Claudio Maretti, WWF Living Amazon Initiative.

“We should understand that monitor is the first stage, but with that we can promote awareness and support policy and markets decisions. Those fronts need to continue, and in some cases be strengthened in Brazil, and clearly need to be established or strengthened in the other Amazon countries”, concluded Maretti.


Aerial shot of Acre State showing forest fire. Amazonia, Brazil
© Mark Edwards / WWF-Canon Enlarge

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