Degradation of Legal Amazônia increases 35%, says the Imazon Institute

Saturday, May 14, 2011

deforestationIn Amazonia, 299 square kilometers of forest were degraded in March of this year, an increase of 35% compared to the same period of 2010, when the area affected was 220 square kilometers. This data from the Deforestation Alert System (Sistema de Alerta de Desmatamento or SAD) was included in the last report from the Imazon Institue.

According to the institute, Mato Grosso was responsible for 73% of the degradation, followed by Rondônia with 23%. Forest degradation means that the forest was partially cut down or burned but not entirely destroyed.

The data confirms the alarm expressed by Deter, the sattelite system of the National Institute for Space Research (Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais or INPE), which detected the occurence of leveling, which is in essence the total deforestation of an area in the Amazônia Legal.

In January and February of this year, Deter noted 19.2 square km of deforested area. Mato Grosso was the state with the most deforestation, with 14.4 square km, followed by Maranhão, with 4.3 square km.


The director of deforestation of the Ministry of the Environment (Ministério do Meio Ambiente), Mauro Pires, confirms that this peak outside the curve has now become the biggest concern in relation to changes in the face of deforestation. In the last five years, deforestation has occured of areas varying from 20 to 80 hectares.

Today it is common to find areas of more than 1000 hectares that have been deforested. "We know there has been a return of the use of correntão (big tractors) that illegally deforest more rapidly and in larger numbers ", affirmed the superintendent of IBAMA (Brazilian Institute of Environment and Renewable Natural Resources), Ramiro Hofmeister Martins-Costa.

Pires believes that those who are now part of deforestation are counting on getting permission to deforest, which could be allowed by the new Forest Code. The date has not yet been set for a vote by Congress.

translated by Genny Petschulat