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IPFS News Link • Environment

2021 Amazon Deforestation Map Shows Devastating Impact of Ranching, Agriculture

•, By Maxwell Radwin

Amazon Conservation's Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) found that around 1.9 million hectares (4.8 million acres) of the rainforest were lost last year, similar to annual forest loss rates in 2020 and 2019.

Most of the deforestation took place in Brazil, with Bolivia suffering the second-highest losses. Colombia and Peru also saw noticeable forest loss.

The results are based on University of Maryland satellite data that detect deforestation hotspots. The report compiled raw forest loss data to produce the 2021 hotspot map. Final annual data will come out later this year as additional analysis is done on more thorough satellite readings.

Mapping the devastation

MAAP's findings suggest that most deforestation in Brazil is happening along major roads through the eastern and southeastern states of Acre, Amazonas, Pará and Rondônia. These states are major hotspots for legal and illegal cattle ranching activity, as well as other agricultural production that relies on roads — most notably highways 163, 230, 319 and 364 — for moving goods in and out of the forest.

The report indicates that deforestation in Brazil isn't happening in one massive wave but is instead chipping away along major roads in several parts of the country.

"We know from historical precedence that whenever you open up roads in these ecologically sensitive biomes, you're literally opening routes for all kinds of illegal activities, including illegal deforestation but also land invasions of Indigenous land," Adriana Abdenur, of Plataforma CIPÓ, a climate, governance and peace-building think tank in Latin America, told Mongabay.