Devastated area hit 303 km² in the month, the second consecutive growth this year
One year after achieving the largest deforestation of the Amazon rainforest in at least 14 years, Brazil is heading towards a new negative record in 2022. In February alone, 303 km² of native forest were destroyed in the Brazilian Amazon. This was the largest area devastated in that month in the last 15 years. Just in relation to February 2021, the destruction increased by almost 70%.
This is the second consecutive month of growth in deforestation this year. In January, forest clearing was 33% higher than last year. The data are from Imazon’s Deforestation Alert System (SAD, in Portuguese), which has been monitoring the Amazon through satellite images since 2008.
“This increase is extremely serious given the climate emergency we are experiencing. Deforestation contributes to global warming, which in turn intensifies extreme events. Reports signed by hundreds of scientists from around the world for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the IPCC, have warned that if we do not manage to stop the increase in global warming, we will suffer with greater frequency and intensity extreme phenomena such as storms and droughts. Last year, in Brazil, rains caused deaths and destruction in four states: Bahia, Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro”, says Imazon researcher Larissa Amorim.
Mato Grosso, Pará and Amazonas were the states that deforested the most
In relation to the nine states of the Brazilian Amazon, Mato Grosso was the one that deforested the most for the second month in a row. In February, 96 km² of forest were felled in Mato Grosso, which corresponds to 32% of the deforestation in the amazonian territory. As a result, Mato Grosso was also the state that recorded the highest increase in devastation compared to February last year, 300%.
Pará, the state that has had the largest areas deforested in recent years, was the second that most destroyed the forest in February: 82 km² (27%). In the state, the devastation grew 24% in relation to the same month last year. In addition to having two municipalities on the list of the 10 that most deforested, Altamira and São Félix do Xingu, Pará also had half of the 10 conservation units with the largest areas destroyed. They are: APA Triunfo do Xingu, Flona do Jamanxim, Esec da Terra do Meio, APA do Tapajós and APA do Igarapé Gelado.
“Only within APA Triunfo do Xingu, 34 km² of deforestation were recorded, which corresponds to 41% of all the destruction detected in Pará, the country’s second biggest state. This is very worrying because we are talking about protected territories intended for the conservation and preservation of natural resources. Therefore, it is necessary to intensify inspection actions in these areas and ensure that environmental laws are truly complied with”, warns the researcher.
Third in the ranking was Amazonas, with 74 km² (24%). In this state, forest clearing grew 252% compared to the same month in 2021, the second largest increase among the states of the Brazilian Amazon. The problem is located in the southern municipalities of Amazonas, where there is an agricultural expansion area.