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.