10 fevereiro 2023
Data released today by DETER points to a rate 61% lower than in January 2022 in the Amazon; figures may reflect the resumption of the environmental defence agenda
The Amazon had 167 km² deforested in January 2023, according to data released this Friday (10) by the DETER System, from INPE (National Institute for Space Research). That means a drop of 61% compared to January 2022 – when a deforested area of 430 km² was recorded in the biome. It is the first time in the last five months that the monthly area recorded is smaller than that of the previous year. This is DETER's first monthly data after President Lula took office.
“The observation of a relevant drop in deforestation data for January 2023 (especially in the Amazon) compared to the same period last year is positive. However, it is still too early to talk about a reversal trend, as part of this drop may be related to greater cloud cover in the period. The DETER system uses satellite images with optical sensors that can be affected by the occurrence of clouds. Therefore, we will need to pay close attention to the data for the coming months”, explains Daniel E Silva, a specialist in Conservation at WWF-Brazil.
The data are released at a time of resumption of the environmental protection agenda at the federal level, such as the recent announcement of the creation of a national plan to control deforestation in Brazilian biomes and discussions on likely contributions from France, the European Union, the United Kingdom and from the USA to the Amazon Fund, which was paralysed since 2019 by the Bolsonaro government.
“Although there is an indication of a possible drop in deforestation in January, it is urgently necessary to restructure the Action Plans for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation and Burning. It is important for Brazil to resume its environmental leadership role on the international stage”, says Frederico Machado, conservation specialist and leader of WWF-Brazil's Zero Conversion Strategy.
“There is an opportunity for Brazil to become a reference in sustainable productivity, and regenerative agriculture, to capture resources in the carbon market, and to have commercial and financial conditions differentiated by socio-environmental commitments that are embraced by the government and the private sector. The time has also come to open our eyes to the risks of excluding more demanding markets, such as Europe, which has closed its doors to agricultural products associated with deforestation”, adds Machado.
According to DETER, the states with the most records of deforestation in the biome were Mato Grosso (69 km²), Pará (32 km²) and Roraima (31 km²), accounting for 79% of the total destruction in January 2023 in the Legal Amazon. The three municipalities that deforested the most are in the state of Mato Grosso (Porto dos Gaúchos, Querência and Tabaporã), with a deforested area of 33 km².
Cerrado: rates remain high
In the Cerrado, 442 km² were destroyed in January 2023, keeping a high level of devastation in the biome, more than twice as high as deforestation in the Amazon.
The two states that deforested the most in the first month of 2023 are in Matopiba (an area that encompasses Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí and Bahia states) - a region that is considered the main frontier of agricultural expansion in Brazil and one of the great fronts for the destruction of ecosystems in the world. In January, Bahia (156 km²) and Piauí (124 km²) contributed to 63% of the deforested area in the Cerrado.
Among the municipalities, 40% of the deforestation in January was concentrated in four municipalities in Matopiba, namely Sebastião Leal, in Piauí (79 km²), São Desidério (49 km²), Jaborandi (25 km²) and Formosa do Rio Preto (21 km²), all three in Bahia.
“Brazilian ecosystems were victims of a criminal anti-environmental policy, which aimed primarily at the relaxation of rules and weakening of oversight to the detriment of the protection of the precious natural heritage belonging to all Brazilians. The Cerrado has already lost almost 50% of its original coverage, and the annual deforestation rates, proportionally, are even higher than the serious numbers we have observed for the Amazon. This means that, for the time being, we still don't have anything to celebrate, but there is still a lot of work to be done”, analyses Frederico Machado.
WWF-Brazil is a Brazilian NGO that has been working collectively for 26 years with partners from civil society, universities, governments and companies across the country to combat socio-environmental degradation and defend people's lives and nature. We are connected in an interdependent network that seeks urgent solutions to the climate emergency. Donate: wwwf.org.br/doe