Deforestation within the Amazon has fallen substantially since the turn of the millennium, a new report has indicated.
On Monday (5 October), a research paper was published by The Amazonian Network of Georeferenced Socio-Environmental Information (RAISG), which is a group of Latin American social and environmental organisations. The study stated that the destruction of primary forests across the Amazon basin has declined significantly since the 2000s.
According to the report, deforestation within the Amazon basin fell sharply between 2010 and 2013. However, of more note is that the researchers also examined Amazon forests outside of Brazil – making it the first paper to document change in primary forest in the Amazon outside of Brazil – where a sizeable decline was also noted.
While there has been wide-scale monitoring of illegal logging within Brazil, which is held up as the figurehead in the fight against deforestation, less is generally known about the surrounding countries that the Amazon rainforest also cover, Mongabay reported. Some data about these non-Brazilian countries are known, but this is typically just about net forest loss and lacks depth.
Carlos Souza of Imazon, a Brazilian NGO that is one of the partners in the research, explained: “The Global Forest Watch data includes forest changes including secondary growth forests and plantations; the RAISG report change is primary forests.”
That is why the researchers broadened their deforestation study to include the likes of Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia, along with others.
Using satellite imagery they found that overall annual deforestation across the non-Brazilian Amazon fell 55 per cent since 1970 from an average of 11,480 square kilometres to 5,132 square kilometres. Much of this decline has been witnessed in the past five years.