Fall in Amazon deforestation rates (2004-2007)

Deforestation rates 2006-2007

The deforestation rate in the Legal Amazon fell by 20% between August 2006 and July 2007, according to final figures from the Amazon Deforestation Monitoring Project (Programa de cálculo do desflorestamento da Amazônia – PRODES).

This is the third consecutive year in which deforestation rates have fallen, resulting in an aggregate reduction of 59% since 2004.

PRODES estimates indicate that total deforestation in 2006-07 was 11,224 square kilometres, close to the lowest ever annual total (11,030 sq km, in 1991) since deforestation monitoring began in 1988.

The states of Pará, Mato Grosso and Rondônia together accounted for around 85% of total deforestation in 2006-07.

The state with the grestest deforestation (5,569 sq km) was Pará, which was also the only state to register an increase (albeit only 1%) in relation to the previous year. Mato Grosso registered the second largest deforested area (2,476 sq km), but this represented a 43% reduction in relation to 2005-06. Rondônia's total deforestation was 1,465 sq km, 29% down on 2005-06.

Source: Ministry of the Environment and Embassy of Brazil in London

December 2007

Deforestation rates 2005-2006

The deforestation rate in the Legal Amazon fell by 25% between August 2005 and July 2006 according to final figures from the Amazon Deforestation Monitoring Project (Programa de cálculo do desflorestamento da Amazônia – PRODES).

This level is set to drop by a further 10% approximately as from this year according to a new forecast of the Real Time Deforestation Detection System ('DETER'). These data were announced in Brasília on Friday (10th) in a press conference attended by the Ministers of the Environment, Marina Silva; Rural Development, Guilherme Cassel; Agriculture, Reinhold Stephanes; and the Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration, Dilma Rousseff.

This has been the second fall since March 2004, when the Plan of Action for Protection and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon ('PPCDA') was launched by President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The Presidential Administration, supported by 13 ministries, co-ordinates this plan.

Since 2004, the deforestation rates have dropped by 49%. In 2004-2005, the area that was logged in the Amazon was of 18,793 km² while in 2005-2006 it was 14,039 km². Seven out of the nine states in that region reduced their deforestation rates. An increase was registered in two states only: Amazonas e Roraima.

Pará was the state that suffered the largest deforestation in that period. Significantly, the territory of the State of Pará registered a drop of 4.48% in relation to 2005. In 2006, the total logged area in Pará was of 5,005 km². The second state that underwent the largest deforestation was Mato Grosso, currently with an improvement in the deforestation rates as well registering a drop of 39.36% - from 7,145 km² recorded in 2005 to 4,333 km² in 2006.

The municipality that registered record deforestation levels was Novo Repartimento, in Pará: the total area grew from 214 km² in 2005 to 446 km² in 2006. The opposite happened with the municipality of São Félix do Xingu, located in Pará as well – that recorded the highest deforestation rate in 2005 with 1,406 km² and became the target of intensive inspections by both IBAMA and the Federal Police – in 2006, it has recorded the largest drop with a 764 km² logged area.

At the federal conservation units ('UCs'), deforestation rates fell by 56%. In 2005, the total logged area was of 689 km²; in 2006, the total at the Conservation Units was of 306 km². These data demonstrate that the creation of Conservation Units, a key policy of the Ministry for the Environment, has been crucial for the fight against deforestation.

Equally, deforestation on indigenous lands also decreased from 441 km² in 2005 to 190 km² in 2006. In the agrarian reform settlements, logging decreased from 4,406 km² to 2,054 km².

'We have returned to the 1970s scenario', stated the Environment Minister, Marina Silva, making reference to a period when there was less pressure on the forest. The Director of the National Aerospace Research Institute ('INPE'), Gilberto Câmara, presented two systems that have currently been implemented by INPE: 'PRODES calculates the yearly consolidated deforestation rate in the Amazon, DETER provides prompt forecasts about the large areas that suffered deforestation in the Amazon.'

'Three thematic axes have been crucial in this process: zoning in territorial planning in the forest areas, environmental monitoring and inspection and the promotion sustainable productive activities', reiterated Minister Dilma Rousseff. 'Brazil is probably one of the very few countries that have the possibility of implementing a consistent plan which protects and conserves the rich biodiversity of the Amazon and significantly reduces its contribution to global warming at the same time', she added.

The most significant presence of the Brazilian State in the Amazon took effect through command and control such as the inspections regarding illegal timber trade. The Federal Police has commanded 20 large-scale operations, at least 14 of which were in the Amazon region; IBAMA carried out 446 integrated inspection operations apart from the routine operations carried out by superintendents' regional offices. Approximately 600 people were arrested, 115 of which were IBAMA public servants. The total of timber confiscated is of approximately 1 million m³ transported in forty thousand lorries that would occupy the distance between Rio de Janeiro e São Paulo, or in other words, 480 km (almost 300 miles). In addition, a total of R$3.3 billions (approx. £834 million) in fines were applied.

The zoning in forest territorial planning succeeded in creating approximately 20 millions of hectares of protected areas, which corresponds to the size of the territory of the State of Rio de Janeiro multiplied by four, along with the demarcation of approximately 10 millions of hectares of indigenous peoples' lands.

'All of this demonstrates that, when there is integrated planning and effort, it is truly possible to change the picture' summed up Marina Silva at the end of the press conference. She added, 'we want to share this victory with the whole of the Brazilian society'.

Source: IBAMA (Adriano Ceolin / Grace Perpétuo) and Embassy of Brazil in London

August 2007

Deforestation rates 2004-2005

According to the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment (Ministério do Meio Ambiente – MMA), deforestation rates in the Amazon region have decreased for the first time in ten years.

Deforestation from August 2004 to July 2005 was 18,900 square kilometers, a 32% decrease in relation to 2003-2004.

The data were collected using the Amazon Deforestation Monitoring Project (Programa de cálculo do desflorestamento da Amazônia – PRODES), a system for satellite monitoring developed by the National Space Research Institute. PRODES provides precise images tracked by the LANDSAT and CBERS satellites, making it possible to detect any deforested area larger than six hectares.

Brazil's Minister of the Environment, Marina Silva, believes the decrease is due to the implementation of an integrated government policy that fosters sustainable development, favours territorial zoning and attaches greater value to standing forests. Relevant elements from international conventions or documents (such as Agenda 21 of the Convention on Biological Diversity, and the 1992 Non-Legally Binding Authoritative Statement of Principles for a Global Consensus on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of All Types of Forests, along with the outcome of discussions in the United Nations Forum on Forests) have been incorporated into government policy.

In July 2003 the government established a Permanent Interministerial Working Group (Grupo de Trabalho Interministerial – GTI), comprising representatives from thirteen different ministries, for the purpose of devising strategies and activities to be undertaken in the Amazon region. Based on its work, a Plan of Action for Conservation and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon Region was launched in March 2004.

December 2005