Widespread deforestation in Amazon region

Issue 

Widespread deforestation in Amazon region

Approximately 14,000 square kilometres were deforested per year in the Amazonian region of Brazil between 1992 and 1994, according to a report in the Folha de Sao Paulo on August 23. These figures are from studies by the Institute of Space Surveys, the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Brazilian Space Agency.

The studies show that the annual rate of deforestation has increased since 1991. According to data of the Brazilian Space Agency, the annual deforestation between 1990 and 1991 was 11,000 square kilometres. This amount increased by 2000 square kilometres between 1991 and 1992.

The state of Mato Grosso registered the greatest amount of forest clearing during the period. This amounted to 2840 square kilometres annually between 1990 and 1991 and 6220 square kilometres per year between 1992 and 1994. On the other hand, the studies show that the rate of deforestation decreased in Amapa, Para, Roraima and Amazonas.

Much of the information in the studies comes from photos transmitted by the Landsat 5 satellite. This information, which shows the exact areas where the deforestation took place, now needs to be cross-checked with other information to explain the advance of the deforestation.

The opening of roads, clearing of areas for plantation, a population shift in an area and the construction of hydro-electric dams are amongst the most likely explanations for the deforestation trends.
From Servico Brasileiro de Justica e Paz.]