Amazon had 1,600 km2 deforested in August, 80% more than in 2021

09 setembro 2022

The devastated area is slightly larger than that of Greater London; forest fires in the first week of september set new records

By WWF-Brazil

In August 2022, deforestation in the Amazon was 1,661 km², an amount 81% higher than that recorded in August last year, according to data from the DETER System, from the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). The value is the second highest in DETER's historical series, which began in 2016, being surpassed only by August 2020, when deforestation in the biome reached 1,714 km².

From January 1st to August 31st, deforestation alerts were recorded for 7,135 km², an increase of 18.5% compared to the area cleared in 2021 in the same period (6,021 km²). The value is 52% higher than DETER's historical average for the first eight months of the year (4,690 km²).

The most deforested states in August 2022 were Pará (676 km²), Mato Grosso (339 km²), Amazonas (310 km²) and Rondônia (157 km²). The most deforested municipalities in the Amazon in August were São Félix do Xingu (Pará), with 93 km², Altamira (Pará), with 89 km², Apuí (Amazonas), with 66 km², União do Sul (Mato Grosso), with 64 km² and Colniza (Mato Grosso), with 61 km².

The Tapajós Environmental Protection Area (APA), in Pará, was the most deforested protected area in the biome, both in August (21 km²) and in the year (93 km²).

Burning Amazon

Forest fires in the Amazon also keep rising in September, according to INPE's Queimadas Program. In the first eight days of the month, 20,261 fires were registered in the biome, an increase of 385% compared to the same period last year, when 4,174 fires were registered.

Between January 1 and September 8, 2022, the accumulated number of fires was 66,283 outbreaks. The value is 52% higher than that recorded in the same period last year (43,598 outbreaks).

The burned area in the Amazon also exploded in September. In the first eight days of the month the fire reached 23,675 km², according to the Alert System of the Laboratory of Environmental Satellite Applications (LASA), of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ). The value is higher than the average recorded for the entire month of September between 2019 and 2021.

"The most recent data on deforestation and fires in the Amazon unfortunately confirm that we will have a year with tragic records for the biome", commented Mariana Napolitano, Head of Sciences at WWF-Brazil. "Research has already shown that, in some Amazonian regions, the dry season has increased by more than a month. We also have higher temperatures and less rainfall," she said.

Deforestation in the Cerrado

Deforestation is also on the rise in the Cerrado. In August, 452 km² were deforested in the biome, a value 14% higher than that recorded in 2021 (395 km²) and 26% higher than the average of the DETER historical series for the Cerrado, which began in 2018. August 2022 had the second worst deforestation rate ever recorded for the month in the Cerrado, surpassed only by August 2018 (590 km²).

In the period between January 1 and August 31, 2022, there were deforestation alerts for 4,575 km² in the Cerrado, a value 27.5% higher than that recorded in 2021 (3,588 km²) and 18.5% higher than the historical average.

Deforestation in the Cerrado in August was again concentrated in MATOPIBA region (Brazil’s main agriculture frontier, consisting in parts of four states with strong soy crops expansion). The states that suffered the most from the devastation were Bahia (119 km²), Maranhão (114 km²), Tocantins (76 km²) and Piauí (69 km²). The most deforested municipalities in the biome in August were Santa Filomena (PI), with 33.5 km², São Desidério (BA), with 31.6 km², Jaborandi (BA), with 19.5 km² and Correntina (BA), with 19.3 km².

The most deforested protected area in the Cerrado in 2022 is the APA do Rio Preto, in Bahia, where 265 km² were destroyed between January 1 and August 31. In August, the most deforested protected area was the APA of Ilha do Bananal/Cantão, in Tocantins, with 9 km² devastated.

“We are already experiencing the effects of a climate emergency that not only impacts the environment, but directly affects our quality of life and our economy. Extreme droughts, high temperatures, seasonal diseases, floods and unproductive soils will seriously impact the most vulnerable populations. It is urgent to change this trajectory of destruction", Mariana Napolitano said.

A scientific study published this week by Global Change Biology found that the accelerated deforestation of the Cerrado has caused the average temperature in parts of the biome to rise by up to 3.5 degrees.


About WWF-Brazil

WWF-Brazil is a Brazilian NGO that for 26 years has been working collectively with partners from civil society, universities, governments and companies across the country to combat socio-environmental degradation and defend the lives of people and nature. We are connected in an interdependent network that seeks urgent solutions to the climate emergency. Donate.