Brazil Cuts a Rhode Island Worth of Amazon or Much More in 3 Months

Deforestation in Pará, Brazil Preliminary data reported this Wednesday, January 23, by the Brazilian Environment ministry and the Inpe (National Institute of Space Research)  show that deforestation in Brazil's Amazon region, between August and December 2007, amounted to 3,235 square kilometers (1,249 square miles), the equivalent to about 320,000 soccer fields and an area larger than the state of Rhode Island.

The Brazilian authorities don't talk in terms of percentage growth because there are no data from previous years to make the comparison. According to the Environment Minister, Marina Silva, however, the number represents a "worrisome" growing trend.

"The government doesn't wish to wait and see. We aren't going to just trust our luck, but we are going to work to fight this process," said the minister.

Most of the deforestation detected in the period mentioned above was concentrated in three states: Mato Grosso (53.7% of the deforested total), Pará (17.8%) and Rondônia (16%).

Among the causes for the increase, Silva mentioned the lengthy drought and a possible influence of soy and livestock production in the affected areas. She tried not to blame directly the economic activities for the deforestation, but when recalling that meat and soy have favorable international prices, she said: "I don't believe in coincidence."

The minister said that there will be a detailed inquiry in the deforested areas for a more precise diagnosis:  "We will zoom in to find out".

The tree cutting occurred more intensely during the months of November and December. In these two months, 1,922 square km (742 square miles) of forest were cut down.

According to Silva, the numbers will be discussed with Brazilian President, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, this Thursday, January 24, during a morning meeting in the president's office in Brazilian capital Brasí­lia. During the gathering, which should count on the participation of several other ministers, the government is supposed to discuss measures to strengthen inspection in places that are considered more critical.

According to the executive secretary of the Environment Ministry, João Paulo Capobianco, municipalities such as São Felix do Xingu and Cumaru do Norte, both in Pará state, and Colmiza, in Mato Grosso, traditionally show high deforestation rates.


The area deforested in the Amazon between August and December 2007 can be twice as big as the 3,235 square kilometers announced by the Environment ministry. The number discrepancy can be explained by the differences between two forest monitoring systems.

According to the Inpe's director, Gilberto Câmara, the preliminary data do not reflect the whole devastation occurred in the region. "This is just a part of what's happening. We don't have detailed satellite images for this period. The Inpe calls out the government so that it may take steps for proper prevention," said Câmara in an interview while sitting next to Environment Minister, Marina Silva.

The Inpe works with two Amazon monitoring systems: one that detects the deforestation in real time (this information is used for the preliminary data) and another with more precise satellite images, which reports annual results. As the average variation between the preliminary and the consolidated surveys reaches 40%, the executive secretary of the Environment Ministry (MMA), João Paulo Capobianco, believes that the real deforestation in the last five months can be as high as  7,000 square km (2,700 square miles).

According to Capobianco, the increase occurred in atypical months and can be an anticipation of something that had been forecasted for 2008, due to the dry weather, or it might mean that serious deforestation is back to the area. "We work with the worst hypothesis," he stated.

The secretary stressed that, between August 2006 and August 2007, the second smallest deforestation rate in the history of the Amazon was recorded. "We want to assure that this achievement can be maintained," he added.

Capobianco mentioned measures that will be implemented by the MMA to reduce the cutting of trees in the Amazon.  Among them, the creation of a black list of municipalities where new deforestation will be forbidden and the embargo of properties that cut trees illegally so that they cannot sell their products.

"The monitoring will be made by radar. If the producers disobey the embargoes, the buyers will answer solidarily," he explained.



  • Show Comments (15)

  • forrest allen brown

    greed & inve
    when 3 world peoples see TV .
    and want things that done make sence to live in a mud hut but have a car worth the sum of there house .
    a cell phone that is 6 months pay when there cheepre ones out there that do the job .
    what sells is like in the states (hanna montana )she has had 4 different cell phones on the show , and if you watch
    the sales reports a few days after she gets a new one the sales of that phone go right out the chart .

    when kelly key got her stat tatoo on her hand look at how many other women in brasil did the same thing
    the novelas in brasil show ever day lives !!!!! right , but how many people moc them to feel the are just as good as the other people .

    the laws are made but not enforced ,
    TV stars can make or brake a product .
    movie stars can voice there opinion
    and the world listens ,
    a person with a PHD and 15 years in the field can speek
    and no one heres .

    by 2020 the world will have gron by another 2.8 billion people .
    why the church says go have kids , never tells them how to feed them .
    ali says have kids again no one tells them how to feed them .
    so should we not hold the church , TV , and the goverments for not doing the right thing and
    by the people of the world , and its own people .

    i am glad i live on a boat as i am not held to the same rules and laws as others
    but even now the seas are getting smaller

  • Gringo

    Eduardo C. & MPB
    [quote]It’s easy for people sitting in a developed country to demand, “don’t destroy your old-growth and virgin forests!” They already went through the process and gained advantage due to the destruction of the land.[/quote]

    The fact of the matter is the Amazon is treated like it is BrazilÀ¢€™s only forest. Most ignore the reality that the Mata Atlantic rainforest (BrazilÀ¢€™s other more biologically diverse forest) has already been thoroughly decimated. In the eyes of most it never really existed, and actually only 5-6% exists today. So in reality Brazil has already chopped down more rain / old growth forest than most developed nations and Brazil is STILL a À¢€œdeveloping nationÀ¢€Â and gain little advantage. The Mata Atlantic forest which used to comprise over 1,300,000 kmÀ‚² was an area larger than many developed countries like France (674,843 kmÀ‚²) and Germany (357,023 kmÀ‚²) TOGETHER. So this À¢€œall those first world nations cut their forest and look at them nowÀ¢€Â cries make no sense!

    In terms of nations, maybe ONLY the US has chopped down more forest; and given the historical context of this disaster it is easily understandable. Few, actually NO ONE, discussed environmental problems associated with deforestation in the 18th century. As well, and as noted above, in recent years the US has had a steady yearly growth in forest given replanting incentives and strict forestry laws.

    The added flaw in defending the status quo of deforestation in Brazil is that according to the governmentˢ۪s own figures, 80% of the destruction is completely and totally illegal. There is nothing to defend. Deforestation, as it stands contributes to the pockets of a few and generates nothing for Brazil in general.
    The evil here is the multi-national corporations that are illegally clear-cutting in the Amazon. Little of that money filters down to the lower economic levels of Brazils citizenry, while at the same time the Amazon is being destroyed.[/quote]

    Yes and no, it is not JUST multi nationals but grileiros and farmers too. Cattle ranching is the worse.

    [quote]If Brazil is expected to cripple it’s economic and industrial development “for the good of the world” then it needs to see some material advantage.[/quote]

    This is extortion. Brazilˢ۪s economy will not be crippled by Brazil adhering to their own laws. This is just right wing hyperbole. If anything, I think Brazil should be treated as an annex 1 nation under Kyoto and fined for its unnecessary carbon loading and contributions to climate change.

  • Nick

    Oversimplified response
    Greed is not a good thing, healthy competition is. Greed is not the only problem. We have 6.5 billion people on this planet and emerging countries are fitting the profile of a “1st world” consumer every year with the advance of techonolgy and increase in spending capacity. Nothing will be solved if people just freek out and get all emotional over the problem and reach irrational conclusions. But yes, greed makes people do irrational things everyday and it is one emotion I have seen to be far more prevalent in the face of scarcity.

    (greed is killing the world
    greed is killing the amazon
    greed is killing to ocean
    greed kills countries)

  • Eduardo C.

    Sorry, Allen Brown
    Forgive me,because i am very explosive.I would like to improve my dialogue with you.

  • Eduardo C.

    The United States have deforested almost everything.Just few states, left some small and ridicule (significant)forest reserves.Wyoming,Montana,Idaho,Alaska,part of north California.They (U.S. Gov.) hade taken off some tribe of indians from there place of origin, and they had placed in Arizona and New Mexico desert,living in traillers.But i also know of the gravity of the problem here in my country.My country (BRASIL) needs to invest more, in the act of contract new employees from Ibama.Perhaps it is exceeded(IBAMA).One employee, takes care of an area equivalent of the state of Rio de Janeiro.The great challenge it is to conciliate the development with the preservation.We(BRASIL),and well intentioned people, cannot lose time, to elaborate this new project.

  • forrest allen brown

    greed is killing the world
    greed is killing the amazon
    greed is killing to ocean
    greed kills countries

  • Mentor

    When you compare the deforestation of the U.S. and Western Europe from 300 to 500 years ago to todays world where we know the impacts this has, you have made an erroneous comparison.
    Another look at global rainforest conservation – 19-April-2005
    With Earth Day approaching it is appropriate to take another look at conservation efforts in the world’s tropical rainforests, which today are disappearing from the face of the globe. Despite growing international concern, rainforests continue to be destroyed at a pace exceeding 80,000 acres (32,000 hectares) per day. So, what should be done?
    Chinese economy drives road-building and deforestation in the Amazon – 17-April-2005

    “Ecologically and economically valuable forests in places like the boreal forests of Russia’s Far East, the lowland forests of Sumatra, and the rainforests of the Amazon and the Congo are disappearing quickly to forces such as illegal or poorly regulated logging and agricultural clearing,À¢€Â said Claude Martin, WWF’s Director General. “By renewing the Forest Alliance, we are committing the World Bank and WWF to working with a governments and a wide range of forest stakeholders to develop effective solutions to these forest threats.À¢€Â

    World Bank studies estimate that US$15 billion in tax revenues is lost annually in developing countries due to illegal logging. “This is money that governments in poor countries could have used for social services and health. These practices need to be stopped,À¢€Â said Ian Johnson, Vice President, Sustainable Development, World Bank. “The World Bank and WWF are committed to work with all involved parties to establish effective and equitable regulation of forest practices.À¢€Â

    Since the Forest Alliance was first created in 1998 it has contributed to the establishment of 50 million hectares (193,000 square miles) of new protected areas, improved management for 70 million hectares (270,000 square miles) of protected areas, and responsible management of some 22 million hectares (85,000 square miles) of commercially harvested forests. These accomplishments have been achieved in pursuit of measurable targets, which the Forest Alliance has updated and expanded to drive further achievements by 2010.

    The Forest Alliance has played a pivotal role in facilitating regional initiatives in the developing world and has been actively working with the private sector to promote responsible forest practices, through programs such as:

    Support for the Brazilian Government’s Amazon Regional Protected Area Program (ARPA). This ten-year program will protect 12 percent of the Brazilian Amazon and establish a US $220 million trust fund to support the on-going management of this protected areas network. The scope of ARPA is equivalent to building the entire U.S. national parks system in 10 years. ARPA has already added new protected areas totaling more than 17 million hectares (69,000 square miles) to the system of Amazonian protected areas in Brazil.

    Support for the 1999 Yaounde and 2005 Brazzaville Heads of State Forest Summits. These landmark meetings have resulted in a cooperative among the leaders of Congo Basin countries which has resulted in extraordinary cross-border cooperation on forest conservation and responsible management. A U.S. State Department initiative of US $53 million to promote forest conservation, and 3.5 million hectares [13,000 square miles] of new protected areas, have been established in the Congo Basin since the first summit in 1999 was convened with support from the Forest Alliance. Groundbreaking analytical work that has led to the development of a systematic approach for the detection, prevention, and suppression of illegal logging in Indonesia. This approach has brought together a wide range of stakeholders and helped develop a constituency for change. A tangible outcome that has developed from this work was the recently released Presidential Instruction to combat illegal logging.

    Collaboration with forest products companies committed to practicing responsible forestry. WWF’s Global Forest & Trade Network, with support from the International Finance Corporation (IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank) is providing technical assistance and support to the business community to improve forest management practices.

    The Forest Alliance will continue to work closely with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to put in place innovative financial mechanisms to fund a suite of initiatives and field projects that are helping to protect the global environment by leading to measurable improvements in forest conservation and management around the world.

  • Mentor

    World Bank aims to reduce deforestation rates by 10% by 2010 with help from WWFPress Release
    May 25, 2005
    New York À¢€” WWF and the World Bank (WB) today announced an ambitious global program aimed at reducing global deforestation rates by 10% by 2010. The announcement was made at the fifth meeting of the United Nations Forum on Forests (UNFF) both as a call to action for the international community and to mark the renewal of their cooperation agreement covering the Alliance for another five years. The present rate of global deforestation is more than 14 million hectares (about 54,000 square miles) per year, roughly equal to the size of Greece. Most of the losses occur in the tropics.
    Last week the government of Brazil released figures showing deforestation in the Amazon rainforest reached the 10,088 square miles (26,129 square kilometers) for the year ending August 2004. Deforestation in the Amazon in 2004 was the second worst ever as rain forest was cleared for cattle ranches and soy farms.
    The background image shows deforestation associated with the Tierras Bajas project in eastern Bolivia where people have been resettled from the Altiplano to cultivate soybeans. The photo is from NASA’s Earth Observatory.
    Known as the World Bank/WWF Alliance for Forest Conservation & Sustainable Use (Forest Alliance), the program will support the establishment of new forest protected areas such as national parks, more effective management of forest protected areas, and improved management of forests outside of protected areas. The Alliance also will help to facilitate regional cooperation and the adoption of policies in support of more effective forest management.
    Rainforest loss in the Amazon tops 200,000 square miles, new figures from Brazilian government – 20-May-2005
    New figures from the Brazilian government show that 10,088 square miles of rain forest were destroyed in the 12 months ending in August 2004. Deforestation in the Amazon in 2004 was the second worst ever as rain forest was cleared for cattle ranches and soy farms
    Farming the world’s largest fish – an alternative to deforestation – 19-May-2005
    Integrated aquaculture offers great potential for sustainable poverty allievation in the Amazon region. It reduces the need to clear land for subsistence agriculture while generating significant economic and nutritional benefits for poor Amazonian colonists

    Amazon rain forest continues to fall; 200,000 square miles gone since 1978 – 24-April-2005
    Forest loss may worsen as Brazil seeks to expand agricultural production and fires threaten stressed ecosystem

    Drought, fire called biggest threats to Amazon rainforest ecosystem – 23-April-2005
    A prolonged drought in the Amazon could lead to a massive die-off in the world’s largest rainforest according to a study released in Science last week.

    Farmers and landless poor battle over the Amazon – 22-April-2005
    Land battles in Brazil’s countryside reached the highest level in at least 20 years in 2004 as activists clashed with farmers and loggers advancing on savanna and Amazon rain forest, a nongovernmental group said Tuesday.

  • Mentor

    Voting rights of the IMF
    IMF Member Country À¢” “ Quota: Millions of SDRs À¢” “ Quota: Percentage of Total À¢” “ Governor À¢” “ Alternate Governor À¢” “ Votes: Number À¢” “ Votes: Percentage of Total À¢” “
    Australia 3236.4 1.49 Wayne Swan Ken Henry 32614 1.47
    Belgium 4605.2 2.12 Guy Quaden Jean-Pierre Arnoldi 46302 2.09
    Brazil 3036.1 1.4 Guido Mantega Henrique de Campos Meirelles 30611 1.38
    Canada 6369.2 2.93 Jim Flaherty David A. Dodge 63942 2.89
    People’s Republic of China China 8090.1 3.72 ZHOU Xiaochuan HU Xiaolian 81151 3.66
    France 10738.5 4.94 Christine Lagarde Christian Noyer 107635 4.86
    Flag of Germany Germany 13008.2 5.99 Axel A. Weber Peer SteinbrÀƒ¼ck 130332 5.88
    India 4158.2 1.91 P. Chidambaram Yaga V. Reddy 41832 1.89
    Italy 7055.5 3.25 Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa Mario Draghi 70805 3.2
    Japan 13312.8 6.13 Koji Omi Toshihiko Fukui 133378 6.02
    Korea 2927.3 1.35 Okyu Kwon Seong Tae Lee 29523 1.33
    Mexico 3152.8 1.45 AgustÀƒ­n Carstens Guillermo Ortiz 31778 1.43
    Netherlands 5162.4 2.38 A.H.E.M. Wellink L.B.J. van Geest 51874 2.34
    Russian Federation 5945.4 2.74 Aleksei Kudrin Sergey Ignatiev 59704 2.7
    Saudi Arabia 6985.5 3.21 Ibrahim A. Al-Assaf Hamad Al-Sayari 70105 3.17
    Spain 3048.9 1.4 Pedro Solbes Miguel FernÀƒ¡ndez OrdÀƒ³Àƒ±ez 30739 1.39
    Sweden 2395.5 1.1 Stefan Ingves Per Jansson 24205 1.09
    Switzerland 3458.5 1.59 Jean-Pierre Roth Hans-Rudolf Merz 34835 1.57
    United Kingdom 10738.5 4.94 Alistair Darling Mervyn King 107635 4.86 United States 37149.3 17.09 Henry Paulson Ben Bernanke 371743 16.79
    Venezuela 2659.1 1.22 GastÀƒ³n Parra Luzardo Rodrigo Cabeza Morales 26841 1.21
    other country entries 60081.4 29.14 respective respective 637067 28.78

  • Mentor

    World Bank Announces Support for More Sustainable Amazon

    PhotoDurban, September 15, 2003 — The World Bank launched a proposal to support sustainable development in Brazil’s Amazon at the World Parks Congress in Durban, South Africa. The proposal focuses on alleviating poverty, promoting economic development and conserving the environment in the Amazon region of Brazil. The Amazon is the greatest rain forest biome in the world, containing by far the largest portion of remaining rain forest and up to one fifth of the world’s freshwater. The World Bank is the largest source of finance for sustainable initiatives in the developing world.

    The legally-defined Amazon covers 60% of the Brazilian territory, with some 21 million inhabitants (in 2000) or about 12% of Brazil’s population. Nearly half of the region’s population lives in poverty. Environmentally, 640,000 km.2 or 17% of the original forest cover has been cleared by 2002, although at least a third of this area is growing back. Its global value is seen both in its extremely rich biodiversity (50,000 known species of plants, 3000 of fish, 2000 of birds) and its possible impact on the global climate if it were to disappear.

    The Brazilian Amazon is challenged by a wide range of issues. Among these, some of the most important are: a) a lack of consensus about regional development policies; b) a set of development trade-offs and uncertainties; c) the sheer physical size of the region, with special relevance for social services (health and education), infrastructure and transportation; d) unclear property rights and ensuing land use conflicts; e) unmanaged expansion of cattle ranching and agriculture; f) rapid urbanization and poor quality-of-life in cities; g) difficulty controlling deforestation and fires; h) a range of serious human health challenges; i) the role of indigenous people in economic development and environmental management; j) localized development questions, especially in the energy and mining sectors; and k) the overarching challenge of low institutional capacity and governance problems.

    The World Bank proposes to help meet these challenges and contribute to sustainable development in the Amazon through three lines of action over the period 2004-2007:

    1. Poverty Alleviation (for a more equitable Amazon) À¢€“ pursue policies and investments in the Amazon to increase income and improve living conditions for the urban and rural poor, especially in the consolidated frontier (the states of RondÀƒ´nia, Mato Grosso and ParÀƒ¡), the poorest municipalities of individual states and the poorest neighborhoods of largest cities (BelÀƒ©m and Manaus).

    2. Conditions for Economic Development (a more productive Amazon) À¢€“ enhance institutional capacity (public, private and civil society), improve land use management and support environmentally-sound economic activity and infrastructure, especially in the poorest areas of the Amazon and in areas of serious or anticipated land use conflict.

    3. Environmental Conservation (a more sustainable Amazon) À¢€“ increase support for existing federal and state policies and programs that seek to sustainably manage natural resources, conserve biodiversity and protect environmental services in the Amazon, with a geographic focus on areas characterized by critical biodiversity value, crucial environmental services and/or cultural heritage.

    Support in these areas would be through a range of instruments: loans (federal, state, municipal); technical assistance; sector work; policy analysis; knowledge management; and promotion of partnerships.

    Brazilian federal government’s AmazÀƒ´nia SustentÀƒ¡vel program could be a major opportunity for integrating this proposed support. A second opportunity will be through the World Bank’s response to growing state and municipal demand for assistance in the Brazilian Amazon. A third opportunity would be to provide assistance to the Government in its process of reforming key financial and development mechanisms that operate in the Amazon. Finally, the World Bank will play a supporting role through its involvement in the second phase of the Pilot Program to Conserve the Brazilian Rain Forest.

    See more information in the Pilot Program to Conserve the Brazilian Rain Forest

  • forrest allen brown

    you must have not looked into what you said about the US
    loggers cut one tree and plant 2 .

    there are vast places in the US with trees as far as the eye can see .

    yes it is been said the US forest ind have removed all natural wood lands , with exception to a few national parks
    but they get replanted when cut or when a fire runs through .

    greed is what is killing the amazon yes there may be as you put it multi national corporations out there but they are doing business with brasilians that

    excpet 40% return the first year of business no matter what it take to get it and what laws that have to be put aside to do it .
    then you have the feds that can be bought to turn the other way as trees are cut , anamils are taken for sale

    and like most brasilians you blame the gringoes for your own countries faults .

    but dont feel bad we all have our crooks killings our lands and rights

  • MPB

    If Brazil followed in the steps of developed nations…
    Then they would clear cut the entire Amazon. Of all the country’s in the world that are considered developed, they have completely clear-cut all of the old growth from their land. In the U.S. there are sparse few acres of land that still have old-growth trees and vegetation. Similarly, European countries were pretty much clear cut before the Americas were even discovered, save for perhaps a few Kings’ private hunting grounds. Canada might be an exception due to the country’s huge natural resources and low population, but they are working on it.

    It’s easy for people sitting in a developed country to demand, “don’t destroy your old-growth and virgin forests!” They already went through the process and gained advantage due to the destruction of the land. Then the citizens of these countries fall into greater and greater levels of consumerism and material fetishism and so drive up demand for food and items that their own country can no longer produce but can be produced by a country like Brazil. Or, these developed countries are trying to revitalize their ecosystem and so do not want to destroy their land again by raising these crops and animals, so they expect it to magically come from somewhere else with no damage to the ecosystem. A case of “not in my backyard.”

    The evil here is the multi-national corporations that are illegally clear-cutting in the Amazon. Little of that money filters down to the lower economic levels of Brazils citizenry, while at the same time the Amazon is being destroyed. Brazil’s goverment is to blame for not enforcing their regulations and/or making more regulations, but they should be lauded for any acres of land they are able to save not criticized for being incable of saving more land; and other countries that are interested in saving the Amazon rainforest should assist Brazil in preserving it through either money donations, trade tariff reductions, or material goods. If Brazil is expected to cripple it’s economic and industrial development “for the good of the world” then it needs to see some material advantage.

  • Eduardo C.

    JoÀƒ£o da Silva
    Independente de sua nacionalidade,vocÀƒª Àƒ© uma pessoa totalmente equilibrada neste blog. Pois sabe criticar e ver ao mesmo tempo as coisas boas do BRASIL.Gostaria de voltar, mas lendo as anotaÀƒ§Àƒµes de alguns que nem conhecem o paÀƒ­s ao certo, me fazem desabrochar.

  • ch.c.

    Brazil is cheating, lying and hiding again….on purpose !!!!!!
    “The Brazilian authorities don’t talk in terms of percentage growth because there are no data from previous years to make the comparison”

    Then HOW did you figure out that deforestation was down around 50 %……in the recent previous years ?
    Quite curious you have been able to have precise stats when things got better and revealing you have no previous stats
    when thinbgs are going worse.

    Quite funnily this came from the same Minister Da Silva.
    And……Bin Lula Da Silva !!!!!!

    Typically the Brazilian style…of openly cheating, lying and hiding the sad truth and facts !!!!!
    And of course….without any shameful face !!!!

  • forrest allen brown

    a few weeks ago the header read
    world keep your hands of the amazon

    so brasilians can go on and cut what they want without the world watching

    this is another reason why they want the priest out of the amazon

    they should use rotor wing craft with guns and just shoot the people with the saws

    then ask them who they work for and punish the ones with the money

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