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Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon continues to decrease

Some 79 square kilometres of deforestation were seen by satellites last month – a sharp reduction over the same period in 2023.

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The Brazilian Amazon marks its tenth consecutive month of reduced deforestation with January 2024 seeing a 60 percent drop year-on-year, according to monitoring by the Amazon Institute for Mankind and the Environment (Imazon).

Satellite image monitoring recorded 79 square kilometres of deforestation last month in Amazônia Legal – a socio-geographic division encompassing all nine states of the Amazon basin. While the cleared area still amounts to over 250 soccer fields per day, it is far lower than the 198 square kilometres recorded in January 2023.  

Since collection of this data began in 2008, the years with the highest deforestation in January were 2015 (288 square kilometres) and 2022 (261 square kilometres). Deforestation rates began dropping sharply under President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who was inaugurated in January 2023 and began his term with a pledge to reach zero deforestation by 2030.

[See more: Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon hits a six-year low]

Satellite image monitoring allows researchers to identify which states are experiencing the highest level of deforestation and degradation, which in turn may help the government to target its efforts.

Three states in Amazônia Legal – Acre, Tocantins and Amapá – recorded no deforestation in January 2024, down from already low figures the previous year. The remaining six states all recorded decreases in deforestation, with the largest drops seen in Mato Grosso (78 percent), Amazonas (76 percent) and Rondônia (67 percent), while Pará (39 percent) saw a comparatively modest decrease.

The northern state of Roraima saw the smallest decrease (22 percent) and accounted for 40 percent of the cleared area. According to Larissa Amorim, a researcher for Imazon, the state experienced a different rainfall pattern, resulting in a drier climate than the other eight states and facilitating greater deforestation.  

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