By Arkady Petrov
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – In three decades, protected areas in the Amazon have lost vegetation territory equivalent to six cities the size of São Paulo. A total of 953,000 hectares were deforested in Conservation Units (UCs), indigenous lands (TIs), and Quilombolas that should have remained fully preserved.
Surrounded by territories showing even higher rates of deforestation, these protected areas have not been unscathed by growing pressure on the biome, but have gained importance–today they are responsible for preserving more than half of the forest.
In 1985, they represented 47 percent of the natural forest area of the Amazon; today, the rate is as high as 53 percent, according to satellite monitoring. The data was collected from satellite images by the Mapbiomas project and analyzed by news site G1.
Outside protected areas, the natural forest in the Amazon has lost 40.8 million hectares – more than 268 cities the size of São Paulo.
The satellite data collection shows that, not only in the Amazon but in all Brazilian biomes, forest territory is changing into agribusiness areas. Pastures and agriculture now represent 84 percent of what was once the Amazon 33 years ago.