From: Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM, More from this Affiliate
Published July 1, 2011 08:49 AM

Brazilian government: Amazon deforestation rising

Satellite data released today by the Brazilian government confirmed a rise in Amazon deforestation over this time last year.

Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE) says that deforestation during the month of May amounted to 268 square miles, a rise of 144 percent over May 2010. 35 percent of the clearing occurred in Mato Grosso, the state where agricultural expansion is fast-occurring.


INPE's announcement comes two weeks after Imazon, an NGO, said deforestation in May 2011 was 72 percent higher over May 2010. The discrepancy in the estimates result of different methodologies in analyzing satellite data. Both INPE and Imazon have near real-time deforestation monitoring capabilities.

Month-to-month deforestation estimates using this systems tends to be highly variable, but the trend over recent months seems to indicate a substantial increase in deforestation over last year, which was the lowest since annual record-keeping began in 1988.

Deforestation in Brazil is typically measured on a calendar year ending in July, when cloud cover in the region is at a low point and higher resolution satellite analysis is possible. Deforestation usually peaks in the Brazil Amazon during the dry season which runs from July through October.

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