Legal Amazon records the lowest deforestation rate for January and February of the last six years, says Imazon

About 196 square kilometers were deforested in the first two months of 2024. Last year, it was 523 square kilometers
The Legal Amazon includes nine Brazilian states and corresponds to about 59% of the territory. Foto: Adriano Gambarini

Translated by Ana Paula Rocha
From Brasil de Fato

The Legal Amazon recorded its lowest deforestation rate for the first two months of 2024 in the last six years. The Legal Amazon covers nine Brazilian states (Acre, Amapá, Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Tocantins and part of Maranhão), corresponding to about 59% of the territory.

The data was released on Monday (18) by the Amazon Institute for Man and the Environment (Imazon, in Portuguese), which uses information from the institute’s own Deforestation Alert System (SAD, in English). The system uses a different methodology from Deter, which is part of the National Institute for Space Research (INPE, in Portuguese).

In total, 196 square kilometers were deforested. Last year, in the same period, there were 523 square kilometers, a difference of 63% between the two periods.

Despite reaching the lowest level of the last six years, the rate for the first quarter of 2024 has been surpassing the figures calculated for the same period between 2008 and 2017, except for 2015. In those ten years, the amount of land whose forests vanished was less than 150 square kilometers per year.

“The published data shows that we still have a huge challenge to face. Reaching the goal of zero deforestation promised for 2030 is extremely necessary to curb climate change,” said Larissa Amorim, a researcher at Imazon, to the Brazilian news website g1.

“To this end, one of the federal government’s priorities must be to speed up the ongoing demarcation processes of Indigenous and Quilombola lands and create conservation units, as these are the territories that historically showed the least deforestation in the Amazon.”

Among the states of the Legal Amazon, the one with the highest deforestation rate was Mato Grosso, with 32% of the total area deforested, followed by Roraima (30%) and Amazonas (16%), representing 77% of the Legal Amazon.

In Mato Grosso state, the institute attributes the high level of deforestation to agribusiness expansion, especially in the municipalities of Feliz Natal, Nova Maringá, Juína, Juara, Marcelândia and Canarana. In Roraima state, deforestation has advanced onto Indigenous lands, including the Yanomami, Manoá-Pium, and Raposa Serra do Sol lands.

Edited by Vivian Virissimo