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Environment With an area of more than 10 thousand km² in the Amazon, deforestation is the worst in the last 10 years

The devastation of the biome is equivalent to seven times the size of the city of São Paulo. (Reproduction/Greenpeace)

Iury Lima – Cenarium Magazine

VILHENA (RO) – November was another devastating month for the largest tropical forest on the planet, with almost six million square kilometers (km²). According to the Monitoring System (SAD) of the Institute of Man and Environment of the Amazon (Imazon), the accumulated deforestation of the last 11 months in the region is the worst of the last decade, having spread over 10,222 km², or seven times the size of the city of São Paulo.

The devastated area is 31% larger than what was destroyed during the same period in 2020. Almost all the damage is attributed to just three of the nine states that make up the Brazilian Legal Amazon: Pará, Mato Grosso and Rondônia.

Fire consumes trees in the Amazon rainforest near Porto Velho, Rondônia. (Edilson Dantas/O Globo Agency)

Devastating November

The month by month analysis indicates that November 2021 appeared as the second worst in the last ten years. There were 484 km² destroyed in 2020 compared to 480 km² in the same period one year later. Thus, only 16 km² were missing for the disappearance of vegetation cover in the course of just 30 days to be equivalent to the territory of Porto Alegre.

Deforestation that has occurred in the months of November in the last ten years

Year Deforested area (in km²)
2012 55
2013 37
2014 195
2015 99
2016 37
2017 56
2018 287
2019 354
2020 484
2021 480

Source: Institute of Man and Environment of the Amazon (Imazon)

Deforestation leaders take the brunt of the damage

The data from the Deforestation Alert System (SAD) show that the damage was mainly caused by the leading deforestation states, especially Pará, which besides always leading the negative rankings, was responsible for 60% of the damage that occurred in November this year, that is, 290 km². Next come Mato Grosso, with destruction of 54 km² (11%), and Rondônia, which fell 42 km² (9%). 

Imazon researcher Larissa Amorim pointed out that together, “these three concentrated 80% of everything that was detected of deforestation for the Legal Amazon”. “A reflection of this is the fact that most of the municipalities and protected areas that have deforested the most are located in these three states”, the specialist explained.

Of the ten municipalities in the most critical situation, eight are from Pará. The other two are in the territories of Rondônia and Amazonas.

The ten municipalities that were in the most critical situation in deforestation, in November 2021. (Reproduction/Imazon)

Affected People

Larissa Amorim points out that there are numerous consequences of the growth of deforestation. “Among them, we can cite the environmental imbalance that is caused by the intensification of global warming, the alteration of rainfall regimes and the loss of animal and plant biodiversity, for example. Deforestation also threatens the habitat of traditional peoples, such as indigenous peoples, quilombolas and extractivists”, she added.

Native peoples have already felt these impacts, since five of the 20 most affected Protected Areas (PAs) are located in the two units of the federation that make up the Amazon, second in destruction of the biome: four in Rondônia and one in Mato Grosso:

  • Samuel Ecological Station (Esec) (RO)
  • Extractive Reserve (Resex) Jaci Paraná (RO)
  • Karipuna Indigenous Land (TI) (RO)
  • Menkü Indigenous Land (MT)
  • Rio Guaporé Indigenous Land (TI) (RO)

Among the reserves is the Resex Jaci Paraná, where deforestation has increased by 2700% since May, when the largest reduction of Conservation Units (UCs) ever authorized in Brazil occurred, by means of a law authored by the governor of Rondônia, Colonel Marcos Rocha (PSL), now considered unconstitutional by the State Court of Justice (TJ-RO).

In addition, the territory of the Karipuna ethnic group also appears, an indigenous people from Rondonia who denounced to the Federal Public Ministry (MPF/RO), the Federal Police (PF), and the National Foundation of the Indian (FUNAI), last week, episodes of timber theft and land grabbing within the TI.

“To combat deforestation in the Legal Amazon, it is necessary to intensify supervision, especially in those areas that are most critical in relation to deforestation. And this surveillance must also come together with the identification and punishment of those responsible for this illegal deforestation. It is also necessary to embargo the activities that are occurring in these areas that have been illegally deforested”, concluded Larissa Amorim, as she presented possible weapons against the devastation of the main Brazilian biome.