The recent history of the Amazon has been marked by deforestation. Until recently, the issue was considered out of control, with alarming rates. In 2004, in response to public pressure, the Brazilian government launched an ambitious plan to combat the problem. Among the measures implemented was the creation of nearly half a million square kilometers of conservation areas, a significant improvement of monitoring and the suspension of rural credit to farmers who are loggers. In addition, there was a significant advance in the monitoring of deforestation with satellite images, including the launch of Deforestation Alert System of the Imazon (SAD), which allows the production of monthly reports on deforestation in the entire Amazon. As a result of these measures, deforestation was reduced by about 80% between 2004 and 2012: from 27 thousand km2 to 4.6 thousand km2 (the lowest mark in the history of the region). Nonetheless, in 2013, there was an increase of about 5.8 million km2, which demonstrated that the issue has not been resolved, despite the advances.

In 2009, during the UN Conference on Climate Change (COP15), Brazil pledged to reduce its annual fees by 80% by 2020, when deforestation should be around 3.000 square kilometers annually. Nonetheless, the pressure of the public opinion, NGOs and political leaders in defense of a more ambitious goal intensifies: zero deforestation by 2020. The state of Pará took the lead and announced a commitment to this goal at the 2012 Rio +20.

Imazon has acted in many initiatives to combat deforestation. The institute developed the Deforestation Alert System (DPS) that operates since 2007, monitoring deforestation monthly through satellite images throughout the Brazilian Amazon. Imazon studies were decisive to the development of policies restricting credit for loggers, fight against land grabbing and improving the system of command and control. Also, the institute directly contributed to the creation of 25 million hectares of conservation areas in the Amazon, a crucial measure in strategy to reduce deforestation. Imazon has also been active in seeking solutions to intensify land use, thereby reduce deforestation pressure. Finally, the institute is contributing with local initiatives to combat the problem and promote a low carbon economy under the Green Cities Program.


Hanging in the balance: the future of a forest

Movie launched in partnership with the Skoll Foundation and the Sundance Institute, which shows several efforts to reduce deforestation and preserve biodiversity, including the efforts of Imazon in Paragominas.

Monitoring Forests From the Ground to the Cloud

Video produced by Google Outreach presents Imazon’s deforestation monitoring in the Amazon. The researcher Carlos Souza Jr. talks about the Deforestation Alert System (SAD) now operating in the Google Earth Engine platform.


Deforestation in the Amazon accumulated by the year 2012. Source: INPE/Prodes.


Deforestation detected annually in the Amazon between 2000 and 2013. Source: INPE/Prodes.

In The Media

Mapping Change in the Amazon: How Satellite Images are Halting Deforestation

Headquartered in Belém, Brazil, Imazon is a non-profit organization focused on promoting sustainable development in the Amazon rainforest. In 2013, the Innovation Investment Alliance—a partnership between USAID and the Skoll Foundation, suppo[...]

Raiders of the rainforest

(Reuters) Deforestation in the Amazon is rising once again as loggers and sawyers craft new ways to elude Brazil’senvironment police. Deforestation in the Amazon is rising once again as loggers and sawyers craft new ways to elude Brazil’s envi[...]


Deforestation report for the Brazilian Amazon (August 2014) SAD

Fonseca, A., Souza Jr., C., & Veríssimo, [...]

Roads, deforestation, and the mitigating effect of protected areas in the Amazon

Barber, C. P., Cochrane, M. A., Souza Jr., C., & Laurance, W. F. 2014. Roads, deforestation, and the mitigating effect of protected areas in the Amazon. Biological Conservation, 177, 203–209.

Roads have a major impact on Amazon [...]