August 3, 2011
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rose 17 percent in June compared to the same period a year earlier, reports Brazil's National Institute for Space Research (INPE).
Using its rapid deforestation detection system INPE found 312.7 square kilometers were cleared in June. Nearly 40 percent of deforestation occurred in the state of Pará. The states of Mato Grosso (26 percent), Rondonia (21 percent), and Amazonas (13 percent) also saw significant forest loss.
Entering the peak deforestation months — July through September/October — deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon in 2011 is so far outpacing last year's rate, which was the lowest since annual record-keeping began in the late 1980s.
Most observers expected to see an increase in deforestation this year due to higher commodity prices and anticipation of changes to Brazil's Forest Code, which requires private landowners to maintain forest cover on the majority of their holdings. Another contributing factor is continuing dry conditions across much of the Amazon basin, which increase the risk of fires spreading from agricultural areas into forest zones.