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Published November 21, 2013 04:54 PM

Brazil Deforestation Up 28%

After a significant drop in the last several years, the annual deforestation rates in Brazil raised 28% for the period August 2012-July 2013, according to INPE, the Brazilian Spatial Institute.

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The total area deforested in 2012-2013 is 5,843 km2 - a trend led by the states of Mato Grosso, Roraima, Maranhão, and Pará.

The area cleared in Mato Grosso rose 52% from 757 km2 in 2012 to 1,149. The area cleared in Pará rose 37% from 1,741 km2 to 2,379 km. For Roraima deforestation increased 49% from 124 km2 to 185 km2. Maranhão registered 269 km2 cleared in 2012 and 382 km2 in 2013, an increase of 42%.

Only three states out of 10 in the Brazilian Amazon - Acre, Amapá and Tocantins - registered a drop in deforestation. In Acre state, the illegally deforested area fell 35% from 305 km2 to 199 km2. For Amapá, deforestation fell 60% from 27 km2 in 2012 to just 11km2 in 2013. In Tocantins,deforestation fell 17% from 52 km2 in 2012 to 43km2 in 2013.

The announcement was made by the Brazilian Environment Ministry, Izabella Teixeira, in a press conference held on November 14 in Brasilia:

"Unfortunately there has been an increasing trend in deforestation rates in some states, but I would like to emphasize that the government commitment is to reverse this trend and any increase tendency."

"What we want is to eliminate illegal deforestation in the Amazon. For this we need the support of governments and society."

In Pará state illegal mining is the main cause of deforestation, Teixeira added. She also mentioned a new dynamic of illegal action: large areas are cleared and abandoned, then after three years groups of people come back to occupy the area, possible a new type of land grabbing. Another driver of deforestation is the clearance of selected trees for illegal logging under the canopy.

Through a partnership with the Amazon Cooperation Treaty Organization (ACTO), Brazil government is cooperating to strength the deforestation monitoring in other Amazon countries.

Francisco Oliveira, director of the Department of Policies to Reduce Deforestation at the Brazilian Environment Ministry, said the Amazon countries had developed a deforestation map of the entire Amazon region for 2010-2012.

"It is important to share with other countries the Brazilian experience in monitoring illegal deforestation. We offer a consistent system and we hope that this will collaborate to their public policies to face illegal deforestation."

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Deforestation image via Shutterstock.

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