Loss of vegetation cover in the Amazon in 36 years is equivalent to

Between 1985 and 2020, the Amazon lost 74.6 million hectares of its natural vegetation cover – an area equivalent to the territory of Chile. In the same period, there was a growth of 656% in mining, 130% in urban infrastructure and 151% in agriculture and livestock.

These are some of the main conclusions of an unprecedented mapping of MapBiomas Amazônia that will be presented this Thursday, September 30, through the youtube.com/raisg platform at 11:00 am this Thursday (30). The Amazon Annual Land Use and Coverage Map Collection 3.0 incorporates the entire biome, from the Andes Mountains, through the Amazonian plain and reaching the transitions with the Cerrado and the Pantanal.

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The temporal mapping of the biome’s land use and land cover showed that if in 1985 only 6% of the Amazon had been converted into anthropogenic areas, such as pastures, agriculture, mining or urban areas, in 2020 this percentage almost tripled, reaching 15% from across the region.

The process varies considerably between countries, with only 1% for Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana and, at the other extreme, 19% for Brazil. Recent studies suggest that the loss of 20-25% of the Amazon’s forest cover could mean the ‘inflection point’ (breaking point) for Amazon ecosystem services. If the current trend verified by MapBiomas continues, this turn can be reached in this decade.

Generated by technicians and specialists from each of the countries that make up the Amazon from satellite images, this third collection of data includes new classes of use, such as Mining and Urban Infrastructure, in addition to maps and data on pressure vectors in forests and other coverage, such as mining concessions, oil blocks, roads and hydroelectric plants.

The objective is to contribute to the knowledge of the current situation in the Amazon region in an integral way – both in terms of changes in land use throughout the Amazon and the pressures on its forests and natural ecosystems.

“Reconstructing the history of our Amazon, looking at the year-to-year changes in its natural cover, identifying loss of cover as important as glaciers and forests in general, helps us to build and propose more precise conservation strategies”, highlights Beto Ricardo, general coordinator of RAISG.

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“The Collection 3.0 of MapBiomas Amazônia shows a deep and rapid anthropization in progress in the region”, says Tasso Azevedo, general coordinator of MapBiomas. “In current MapBiomas mappings across South America, this is a striking pattern. The data are invaluable for understanding the dynamics of the use of natural resources in the region, in addition to contributing to climate modeling and the calculation of greenhouse gas emissions and removals due to changes and land use in the region”, he adds. .

MapBiomas Amazônia is an initiative led by the Amazon Network of Geo-referenced Socio-environmental Information (RAISG) with the support of MapBiomas. In 2019, it launched the First Collection, covering the period from 2000 to 2017; in 2020, the Second Collection, which covers 1985-2018. Now, the Third Collection spans the 36 years between 1985 and 2020: http://amazonia.mapbiomas.org.

Edition: Vinícius Segalla

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