Queimadas em Novo Progresso, Pará - Foto: Fernando Souza - AGIF-AE/arquivo

Deforestation in Amazon sets a new record

The area deforested from January to September exceeded 9 thousand km², surpassing the record of just over a month ago and consolidating the worst mark in 15 years

Da Redação

With information from Imazon and TV Liberal


According to data from the Deforestation Alert System (SAD) for the Legal Amazon, from the Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (Imazon), the deforestation in the region, between January and September 2022, reached 9,069 km², which corresponds to almost eight times the size of the city of Rio de Janeiro.

Only in September, 1,126 km² of forest were destroyed in the Amazon. This was the third worst September in 15 years, behind only 2021 and 2020. And almost half of this destruction occurred in Pará: 553 km² (49%). Of the ten municipalities that deforested the most in September, seven are in Pará. They are: Portel, Pacajá, Anapú, São Félix do Xingu, Senador José Porfírio, Placas and Uruará. 

In the state, the destruction is advancing northward and approaching the largest block of protected areas in the world. Another problem in Pará, raised by Imazon, is the advance of destruction inside indigenous lands and conservation units.

"Six of the 10 most deforested indigenous territories in September are on Pará land, including Apyterewa, which led the ranking. The place, which this year has been suffering monthly with the advance of invasions, lost last month alone an area equivalent to 1.8 thousand soccer fields. As for the Conservation Units (UCs), Pará has five of the 10 most destroyed, with a negative highlight for the Tucuruí Lake APA, in second place", says Raissa Fernanda Ferreira, Imazon researcher.

Amazonas and Acre also stand out in the deforestation ranking 

According to Imazon's alert system, the second state that most negatively impacted on the Amazon in September was Amazonas, with 193 km² (17%). Imazon highlights that, in the case of Amazonas, the destruction advances in the South, where there is strong pressure from landowners. Only two municipalities in this region, Lábrea and Boca do Acre, accounted for 38% of the total deforested area in the state.

"The deforestation in Amazonas has been concentrated in areas of undesignated public forests, those that have not yet had a defined use, and in protected areas, such as indigenous lands. Territories that are often invaded by land grabbers with the expectation of conquering a property title in the future and profiting from it sale", explains Raissa.

In third place was Acre, where 140 km² of forest were cut down, 13% of the area registered in the Amazon. In the state, 18% of the deforested area occurred within the Resex Chico Mendes (26 km²), which made the territory the most devastated conservation unit in the Amazon in September.

Find, below, an infographic from Imazon with deforestation and degradation proportions by Amazon state, in September 2022. The proportion of deforestation is highlighted in red and of degradation in green. 


This is the fifth consecutive time that deforestation reaches the worst level in the last 15 years, between January and September. Imazon highlights that during a decade, from 2008 to 2017, the accumulated deforestation between January and September in the region always remained below 3,500 km².

"These high levels of destruction not only threaten biodiversity and traditional peoples and communities, but also affect the lives of the entire Brazilian population. The deforestation impacts the increase in greenhouse gas emissions, which are largely responsible for climate change and extreme events," explains Imazon researcher Bianca Santos.

Forest degradation almost fivefold in September

Besides deforestation, which is the total removal of vegetation, forest degradation caused by fires and logging increased 359% in the Amazon. The area affected by this environmental damage went from 1,137 km² in September 2021 to 5,214 km² in the same month this year. That is: a growth of almost five times. Moreover, this was the sixth consecutive month in which degradation increased.

"A large part of the degraded areas in the Amazon forest in September are related to fires, which offer a risk to public health. Several studies associate them with the increase in respiratory problems and not only in the Amazon population, because the smoke from the burnings can reach other regions of the country", adds researcher Bianca Santos.

In September, only two states concentrated 96% of the degraded area in the Amazon: Mato Grosso, with 3,865 km² affected (74%), and Pará, with 1,127 km² (22%).

Official authorities - In a note sent to TV Liberal, from Pará, the Ministry of the Environment said it does not comment on unofficial data and that the information on combating environmental crimes is led by the Ministry of Justice and Public Safety. The note said that the operation Guardians of the Biome operates permanently to combat illegal deforestation and fires, in addition to ensuring the protection of indigenous lands. 

The Government of Pará, stressed that it conducts operations to combat environmental crimes and offers support to federal enforcement agencies. The Secretariat of Environment and Sustainability of the State of Pará (Semas), also informed that the management of federal areas is the responsibility of the federal government and that, when support is requested, the secretariat spares no effort to help. Semas also informed that, through the State Plan Amazonia Now, it carries out actions to conserve the forests and fight environmental crimes. According to Semas, the Amazônia Viva operation has already embargoed more than 7,000 hectares of land where illegal activities were being carried out.