Deter system reveals new wave of deforestation in Mato Grosso state

30 junho 2011    
For the third time running this year, and this time on an alarming scale, the state of Mato Grosso is the leader in deforestation in the Amazon region. A survey made by the Brazilian National Institute for Space Studies  (Inpe) published today (June 30) shows that in the month of May, 93 square kilometres in of natural vegetation were destroyed. The total figure for all deforestation detected in the Amazon region for the same period was 268 square kilometres. The states of Pará and Rondônia were close behind with the devastation of 67.9 and 65.5 square kilometres respectively.

During her remarks at a public hearing in the Federal Senate this morning, the Brazilian Ministered for the Environment informed senators that of the 824 square kilometres of deforested areas detected by the Deter system in the period from August 1, 2010 until May 31, 2011, 112 square kilometres were authorised. For the Amazon region alone the figure was 193 square kilometres of which a mere 11 square kilometres had been authorised.

“There are situations where deforestation is allowed, the law provides for it. Our attention here, however,  is focused on illegal deforestation” declared the minister  when addressing the issue of amnesty for illegal deforestation provided for in the proposed reform of the Forest Law.

“Those figures show that the important tendency to reductions in deforestation we had been witnessing ain the last few years is actually much more fragile than we imagined.” stated Claudio Maretti, leader WW Network’s Living Amazon Initiative.

In Maretti’s view, what is needed is to consolidate the mechanisms for reducing deforestation and those include creating more protected areas, establishing more intense surveillance and control of deforestation and eliminating perverse subsidies that stimulate environmental degradation and that are frequently embedded in mechanisms to support agricultural production.

“What is needed is to stimulate forestry production, foster sustainable crop and livestock farming  and promote payment for environmental services provided by ecosystems; in other words, implant a green economy. On the other hand it is crucial that society should perceive that the pressure that is being applied to push through irresponsible changes in the legislation  and declare an amnesty those that illegally cut down the forests is the fruit of the irresponsible actions of those that prefer to create a fait accomplis and derive improper benefit from it leaving the costs for the rest of society to meet”, he explained.       

The system for detecting deforestation in real time (Deter is the Portuguese acronym) not only detect areas where the vegetation has been totally cleared off but also gradual degradation taking place in an area and the advancement of deforestation into the forest.

Deforestation is not the only environmental problem in Mato Grosso. Last week the same Inpe announced that outbreaks of fire are beginning to take hold of the Middle-west region accompanying the advance of the dry season. On Friday June 24 alone, 182 big fires in progress were detected for Brazil as whole of which 53 were in Mato Grosso.