It is unprecedented: for the first time in a single survey in the country, the data for all the deforestation alerts in the national territory have been analyzed and consolidated. The conclusion is worrying because, in 2019, Brazil lost the equivalent in native vegetation of eight times the area occupied by the municipality of São Paulo, or 1,218,708 hectares (12,187 km²). The data is available in the “2019 Annual Deforestation Report,” by MapBiomas . The initiative is multi-institutional, involving universities, NGOs and technology companies to develop a system of validation and refinement of alerts for the deforestation, degradation and regeneration of native vegetation, with high resolution images.

Overall, the study identified, validated and refined 56,867 alerts generated by DETER (the Deforestation Detection System in Real Time of the INPE in the biomes from the Amazon and the Cerrado), SAD (the Deforestation Alert System of Imazon, in the Amazon), and GLAD (the Global Land Analysis and Discovery of the University of Maryland in the other biomes). Of these, over 99% (corresponding to 96% of the total area) did not have authorization to suppress native vegetation registered at SINAFLOR – the National System for the Control of Origin of Forest Products. In other words, they were illegal.

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The Amazon, as expected, has the highest number of alerts – 83%, corresponding to 63.2% of the total deforestation area, followed by the Cerrado, with 13% of the alerts, although 33.5% of the area. Together, these two biomes, which are the most monitored in Brazil, represent 96.7% of the deforested area detected in 2019. The ranking is completed with the Pantanal (1.35% of the total area), Caatinga (1%), Mata Atlântica (0.87%) and Pampa (0.05%), although the number of alerts and areas identified by the report in these biomes constitutes a conservative value that can underestimate the total deforested area, because the data from GLAD is global and is not adapted to specific conditions.

Another new point in the used methodology is the possibility of measuring the speed of the deforestation in a never seen before dimension. Accordingly, it was possible to detect that the most rapidly deforested area, in 2019, was located in the municipality of Jaborandi (BA) – 1,148 hectares were suppressed between May 8 and 27, at an average of 60 hectares per day. In terms of the size of the deforestation, the largest was in Altamira, in Pará, where 4,551 hectares of Amazonian rainforest were cut down in a single event.

MapBiomas Alert has produced over 76,000 reports with analyses of each alert, including overlays with different territorial outlines and updates. Tasso Azevedo, the coordinator of the initiative, says that all the reports are freely available and can be used by public and private agencies.

Read the complete report in ENGLISH.

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