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Iury Lima – from Cenarium

VILHENA (RO) – The Amazon lost 10,476 thousand km² of vegetation between August 2020 and July 2021. The accumulated figure closed as the worst mark since 2012, when the result, in the same period, was 1,047 km².
The current destruction was 57% greater than that measured last year, which occurred between 2019 and 2020. The data from the Institute of Man and Environment of the Amazon (Imazon) comprise the period called the “deforestation calendar”.

In July this year alone, 2,095 km² were deforested, an area almost the size of Palmas, almost twice the size of Belém and two and a half times the area of São Luís, both capitals inserted in the Legal Amazon. The devastation observed in the month of July this year is 80% higher than that which occurred in the same month of 2020, one of the indicators, according to Imazon, is that the forest is being devastated at the highest rate in the last few years, in almost a decade.

The information was obtained and processed by capturing satellite images from the Institute’s Deforestation Alert System (SAD). The monitoring has been carried out since 2008.

Accumulated deforestation in the last 12 months is the highest since 2012, according to Imazon data (Bruno Kelly/Reproduction)

Critical situation for Acre and Amazonas

“There were also several negative records in relation to deforested areas. This occurs due to an intense advance of deforestation in regions of the Legal Amazon, such as, for example, the south of the Amazon and also part of the state of Acre, allied to the advance, unfortunately, of deforestation in Conservation Units (UCs), Indigenous Lands (TIs) and areas of Public Forests that have not yet been designated. All this combined with insufficient fiscalization makes these deforestation records more and more recurrent”, explained Imazon researcher Larissa Amorim.

Amorim says that deforestation has been showing an increasing trend since 2012 and warns that this problem has intensified in the last three years. The researcher also explains that Imazon identified, in the last 12 months, the advance of the destruction of the largest tropical forest in the world, mainly in regions of Amazonas and Acre and that this happens due to the displacement of deforestation from areas that were already consolidated before, such as parts of Rondônia and Mato Grosso.

“What we also notice is that the State of Amazonas has been keeping itself in the second place among the states that deforest the most. And also that, considering the entire Legal Amazon, the critical cities that were prioritized for inspection still have intense deforestation in their territories”, lamented Larissa Amorim.

Pará pulled the line

The state of Pará was the one that left most traces of destruction in the forest: in July alone, 771 km² of vegetation disappeared from the Para soil, that is, 37% of all that was destroyed in the biome last month. It is also in Pará, where the ten most affected Indigenous Lands and five of the ten most affected Conservation Units in the whole of the Amazon are located.

“The specter that always leads Pará to lead the ranking, as the state that deforests the most, is due to the fact that there have been large infrastructure projects in the state, which have valorized the land and facilitated access to the forest. The fact that Pará has large areas of forest and protected areas has made illegal deforesters interested in these territories and appropriate them illegally. The 37% of critical municipalities are located in Pará and are the ones that deforest the most”, highlighted the researcher.

Almost half (48%) of the area destroyed in Para territory in July was concentrated in only four cities:

  • Altamira;
  • São Félix do Xingu;
  • Itaituba; e
  • Novo Progresso.

For Larissa Amorim, mining activity and the invasion of protected areas are allies of devastation, which act in contrast to the inefficient surveillance (or lack of it). “An example of this is the mining activity that advances, especially in Indigenous Lands, and also the recurrent deforestation in Conservation Units. The Triunfo do Xingu APA and the Jamanxim Flona are examples of UCs that have intense deforestation within their territories”, said Larissa.

In one year, the state also showed worrying rates: it deforested 43% more than in August 2020 and July 2021, reaching a total of 4,147 km² of devastation.

Rankings de desmatamento

After Pará, which always appears at the top of the deforestation occurring in the Amazon, the States of Amazonas and Rondônia appear in second place. Amazonas corresponds to 19% of all that was destroyed in the biome in July, with 402 km² of forest removed from the ground. Rondônia, on the other hand, in third position, was responsible for 15% of the destroyed area, that is, 319 km².

The five states with the highest deforestation rates in July 2021

Position StateDevastation (in km²)
1st Pará771
2nd Amazonas402
3rd Rondônia319
4th Acre313
5th Mato Grosso203
Source: Imazon

In the last 12 months, Rondônia gave way, in third place, to its neighbor Mato Grosso, which destroyed 1,536 km² from August last year to July this year. The leadership, once again, was reserved for Pará, which devastated an area of more than 4,000 km².

The five states that have deforested the most in the last 12 months

PositionState Devastation (in km²)
1stPará 4.147
2ndAmazonas1.831
3rdMato Grosso1.536
4thRondônia1.352
5thAcre927

Fonte: Imazon

It is cheaper (and healthier) to keep the forest standing

“Deforestation, unfortunately, is the main cause of greenhouse gas emissions in Brazil and if the pace of forest loss continues the way it has been presented in recent years, unfortunately, as a consequence, we will have an environmental imbalance and intensification of global warming”, evaluated the Imazon researcher.

She also outlined the economic damages that can be generated in the country as a result of the cost of environmental devastation: “as economic problems, we will have impacts on activities related to agriculture and fishing, and if there is a drought of water sources, we may also suffer an energy crisis”, concluded Larissa Amorim.