Brazil's forests

By Rhett A. Butler [Last update August 14, 2020]

Brazil holds about one-third of the world's remaining primary tropical rainforests, including about 60% the Amazon rainforest. Terrestrially speaking, it is also the most biodiverse country on Earth, with more than 34,000 described species of plants, 1,813 species of birds, 1,022 amphibians, 648 mammals, and 814 reptiles.

About 80% of Brazil's tropical forest cover is found in the Amazon Basin, a mosaic of ecosystems and vegetation types including rainforests (the vast majority), seasonal forests, deciduous forests, flooded forests, and savannas, including the woody cerrado. This region has experienced an exceptional extent of forest loss over the past two generations—an area exceeding 760,000 square kilometers, or about 19 percent of its total surface area of 4 million square kilometers, has been cleared in the Amazon since 1970, when only 2.4 percent of the Amazon's forests had been lost. The increase in Amazon deforestation in the early 1970s coincided with the construction of the Trans-Amazonian Highway, which opened large forest areas to development by settlers and commercial interests. In more recent years, growing populations in the Amazon region, combined with increased viability of agricultural operations, have caused a further rise in deforestation rates.

Natural forest in the Brazilian Amazon (Amazonia) by year

This data excludes extensive areas degraded by fires and selective logging, nor forest regrowth, which by one Brazilian government estimate occurs on about 20% of deforested areas. The area of Amazon forest degraded each year in Brazil is thought to be roughly equivalent to the amount of forest cleared. Forest degradation is significant because degraded forests are more likely to be cleared in the future. Degraded forest is also more susceptible to fires.

Why is the Amazon rainforest disappearing?

Historically the majority of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon was the product of subsistence farmers, but in recent decades this has changed, with a greater proportion of forest clearing driven by large landowners and corporations. The majority of deforestation in the region can be attributed to land clearing for pasture by commercial and speculative interests.

In the early phase of this transition, Brazilian deforestation was strongly correlated to the economic health of the country: the decline in deforestation from 1988-1991 nicely matched the economic slowdown during the same period, while the rocketing rate of deforestation from 1993-1998 paralleled Brazil's period of rapid economic growth. During lean times, ranchers and developers do not have the cash to expand their pasturelands and operations, while the government lacks the budget flexibility to underwrite highways and colonization programs and grant tax breaks and subsidies to agribusiness, logging, and mining interests.

But this dynamic shifted in the mid-2000s, when the link between deforestation and the broader Brazilian economy began to wane. Between 2004 and 2012 the annual rate of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell 80% to the lowest levels recorded since annual record keeping began in the late 1980s. This decline occurred at the same time that Brazil's economy expanded 40 percent and agricultural output surged.

Tree cover loss and primary forest loss in the Brazilian Amazon according to analysis of satellite data by Hansen et al 2020
Comparison of data on deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, 2001-2019, between official Brazilian government data and Hansen et al 2020.

Why did Amazon deforestation decline?

There are several reasons commonly cited for the decline in Brazil's deforestation rate between 2004 and 2012.

One of the most important active measures was the launch of the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Legal Amazon (PPCDAm) in 2004. PPCDAm aimed to reduce deforestation rates continuously and facilitate conditions that support a transition towards a sustainable economic development model in the region. PPCDAm had three main components: land tenure and spatial planning, environmental monitoring and control, and supporting sustainable production.

These components resulted in increased enforcement of environmental laws; improved forest monitoring by satellite, which enabled law enforcement to take action; new incentives for utilizing already deforested lands; and expanded protected areas and indigenous reserves. A byproduct of PPCDAm was heightened sensitivity to environmental criticism among private sector companies and emerging awareness of the values of ecosystem services afforded by the Amazon.

Other factors also played a part in the decline in deforestation, including macroeconomic trends like a stronger Brazilian currency, which reduced the profitability of export-driven agriculture; prioritization of non-rainforest areas like the adjacent cerrado ecosystem for agribusiness expansion; and increased diversification in the Brazilian economy as a whole.

Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Why has progress in reducing Amazon deforestation stalled?

Progress in reducing deforestation stalled after 2012 and forest loss has been trending upward since. There is debate over why this is the case, but some researchers argue that Brazil achieved about as much as it could through law enforcement and other punitive measures ("the stick" in the proverbial "the carrot and stick" approach). Reducing deforestation further requires sufficient economic incentives ("the carrot") to maintain forests as healthy and productive ecosystems. Put another way, standing forest needs to be made more valuable than clearing it for pasture or crops.

By that line of thought, the political impetus for reducing deforestation began to wane as ranchers, farmers, investors, and land speculators grew tried of fines, threats of legal action, and prohibitions against clearing. Political movements like the ruralistas pushed harder for relation of environmental laws and amnesty for past transgressions. These interests gained momentum when the Temer administration came to power in 2016 and won more clout with the election of Jair Bolsonaro in late 2018. Bolsonaro, who campaigned on the promise to open the Amazon to extractive industries and agribusiness while disparaging environmentalists and indigenous peoples, immediately set about dismantling protections for the Amazon when he took office in January 2019. Deforestation increased sharply thereafter.

Causes of deforestation in the Amazon

In evaluating deforestation in the Amazon, it is important to understand both direct and indirect drivers of forest loss.

Direct drivers of deforestation including conversion of forests for pasture, farmland, and plantations, as well as surface mining, dams that inundate forested areas, and intense fires.

Indirect drivers of deforestation include more subtle factors, like insecure land tenure, corruption, poor law enforcement, infrastructure projects, policies that favor conversion over conservation, and selective logging that create conditions or enable activities that facilitate forest clearing.

Pie chart showing drivers of deforestation in the Amazon
Causes of deforestation in the Amazon, 2001-2013 Share of direct deforestation
Cattle ranching63%
Small-scale agriculture
Includes both subsistence and commercial
12%
Fires
Sub-canopy fires often result in degradation, not deforestation
9%
Agriculture
Large-scale industrial agriculture like soy and plantations
8%
Logging
Selective logging commonly results in degradation, not deforestation
6%
Other
Mining, urbanization, road construction, dams, etc.
2%

 

Cattle ranching

Conversion of rainforest for cattle pasture is the single largest driver of deforestation in Brazil. Clearing forest for pasture is the cheapest and easiest way to establish an informal claim to land, which can then be sold on to other parties at a profit. In some parts of the Brazilian Amazon, cleared rainforest land can be worth more than eight times that of land with standing forest. According, cattle ranching is often viewed as a way to speculate on appreciating land prices.

However since 2000, cattle ranching in the Amazon has become increasingly industrialized, meaning that more ranchers are producing cattle to sell commercially. Most of the beef ends up in the domestic market, but secondary products like hides and leather are often exported.

These exports left Brazilian cattle ranchers exposed in the late 2000s when Greenpeace launched a high profile campaign against companies that were sourcing leather and other products from major Brazilian cattle processors. That campaign led major companies to demand zero deforestation cattle. Combined with a crackdown by public prosecutors, the Brazilian cattle industry started to shift substantially toward less damaging practices in late 2009 by signing the "Cattle Agreement", which barred the sourcing of cattle from illegally deforested areas.

However by the mid-2010s investigations revealed that some major cattle producers were circumventing the safeguards established under the Cattle Agreement by laundering cattle through third party ranches. Unlike soy (see below), cattle are highly mobile, making it easy for ranchers to shift livestock clandestinely.

Deforestation for soy in the Brazilian Amazon. The isolated tree is a Brazil nut. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Soy

The model for the Brazilian cattle industry to move toward zero deforestation came from the country's soy industry, which underwent a similar transformation three years earlier. That shift was also initiative by a Greenpeace campaign, which targeted the soy-based chicken feed used by McDonald's in Europe. Within months of that campaign's launch, the largest soy crushers and traders in the Amazon had established a moratorium on buying soy produced via deforestation in the Amazon.

Timber

Logging in the Brazilian Amazon remains plagued by poor management, destructive practices, and outright fraud. Vast areas of rainforest are logged -- legally and illegally -- each year. According to government sources and NGOs, the vast majority of logging in the Brazilian Amazon is illegal.

Palm oil

At present, Amazon palm oil is not a major driver of deforestation in Brazil. While there are concerns that it could eventually exacerbate deforestation, there is also a chance that it could replace degraded cattle pasture, boosting economic productivity at a low environmental cost.

Dams, roads, and other infrastructure projects

Brazil's infrastructure spree from the late-2000s to mid-2010s was interrupted by the corruption scandals of the mid-2010s. Many of the scores of dams being built across the Amazon basin were put on hold following the Lava Jato scandal that ensnared senior politicians in several countries and executives at the infrastructure giant Odebrecht. Yet the scandals also helped usher in the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, which reinvigorated the push to build roads, dams, and mines in the Amazon.

Amazon rainforest in Brazil. Photo by Rhett A. Butler

Conservation in Brazil

While Brazil may be better known for losing its forests, during the 2000s it easily led the world in establishing new protected areas. Those gains were consolidated in 2014, when donors established a trust fund that will underwrite the country's protected areas system through 2039.

Beyond strict protected areas, more than a fifth of the Brazilian Amazon lies within indigenous reservations, which research has shown reduce deforestation even more effectively than national parks. Overall nearly half the Brazilian Amazon is under some form of protection.

Brazil's other forests

While the Amazon rainforest is Brazil's most famous forest, the country also has other types of forest.

The Mata Atlântica or Atlantic Forest is a drier tropical forest that lies along the coast and inland areas to the south of the Amazon. It has been greatly reduced by conversion to agriculture -- especially sugar cane and cattle pasture -- and urbanization. The Mata Atlântica is arguably Brazil's most threatened forest.

Forest loss in Brazil's Mata Atlantica according to National Space Research Institute, INPE

The Pantanal is an inland wetland that borders Paraguay and Bolivia and covers an area of 154,884 square kilometers. It includes a mosaic of forests and flooded grasslands.

The cerrado biome is a tropical grassland that covers 1.9 square kilometers, or approximately 22 percent of the country. It is being rapidly destroyed for agriculture.

The chaco biome is a dry forest ecosystem that extends into Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina.

Brazil's tropical forests

Primary forest extentTree cover extent
StateDominant forest biome20012020% losss20012020% losss
AcreAmazon13,505,69012,583,4186.8%14312070134293788.1%
AlagoasAtlantic forest35,53734,9331.7%57551851079211.4%
AmapáAmazon10,934,64510,792,2681.3%12172480121887352.5%
AmazonasAmazon143,485,183141,217,4831.6%1505680051482690452.0%
BahiaAtlantic forest1,297,7021,187,3478.5%187766221518773716.5%
CearáAtlantic forest74,39572,5012.5%2974477280712710.0%
Espírito SantoAtlantic forest128,492124,4063.2%1813455167559918.8%
GoiásAtlantic forest / Cerrado388,506328,32915.5%7736542680816313.3%
MaranhãoAmazon3,185,7322,483,15322.1%210154431639155623.0%
Mato GrossoAmazon / Cerrado / Chaco39,009,64531,696,95318.7%563962284616815018.7%
Mato Grosso do SulAtlantic forest / Cerrado1,489,0951,356,7178.9%10191243876195312.6%
Minas GeraisAtlantic forest / Cerrado268,244258,6883.6%183574221745008214.0%
ParáAmazon92,225,89683,576,9739.4%1079637179701346412.4%
ParaíbaAtlantic forest23,76423,5121.1%11214826632639.6%
ParanáAtlantic forest1,044,8811,020,2532.4%7947474734017014.1%
PernambucoAtlantic forest42,72741,0014.0%1563136125875910.7%
PiauíCaatinga141,286139,7851.1%11538381930006310.3%
Rio de JaneiroAtlantic forest587,724581,3631.1%180539817379223.8%
Rio Grande do NorteAtlantic forest7,3217,2870.5%90943249110611.0%
Rio Grande do SulAtlantic forest / Cerrado24,16624,1460.1%763611273936658.1%
RondôniaAmazon15,649,57812,470,56320.3%184855791490877921.7%
RoraimaAmazon15,425,75914,683,7384.8%17889964170758365.7%
Santa CatarinaAtlantic forest1,205,5901,176,0142.5%6354636603158012.2%
São PauloAtlantic forest1,837,3211,817,0951.1%6560955646900412.1%
SergipeAtlantic forest17,94016,6707.1%54359139572221.5%
TocantinsAmazon / Cerrado1,194,996995,67116.7%11162164845997216.1%

 

Recent news on Brazil's tropical forests

To reverse deforestation and protect biodiversity, build a bioeconomy in the Amazon (commentary) (Feb 23 2024)
- Slowing and reversing deforestation and land degradation in the Amazon requires not only conservation efforts but also increasing the economic value of standing primary forests through a bioeconomy approach, argues Robert Muggah, co-founder of Instituto Igarapé.
- A bioeconomy involves regenerative agriculture, sustainable energy, and other activities that leverage the forest’s natural assets while ensuring economic benefits for local communities. However, the expansion of the bioeconomy faces challenges, including resistance from extractive sectors, investment risks, and the need for infrastructure, research, and support for local enterprises.
- Despite these hurdles, advancing the bioeconomy is essential for sustainable development and decarbonization in the Amazon and crucial for the world, says Muggah.
- This post is a commentary. The views expressed are those of the authors, not necessarily Mongabay.

Land use planning helps advance conservation in Brazil (Feb 21 2024)
- Mongabay is publishing a new edition of the book, “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon,” in short installments and in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.
- In addition to regulating land tenure, land-use zoning and planning have been used across the Amazon Basin, as countries have aimed to protect forests and prevent the encroachment of agricultural frontiers.
- In Brazil,the Zonificación Ecológica Económica (ZEE) coincided with a parallel effort to protect large swathes of the Amazon and provided technical criteria and legal support for the creation of dozens of conservation units and Indigenous territories.

Brazil’s BR-319 highway: The danger reaches a critical moment (commentary) (Feb 17 2024)
- A project to rebuild Brazil’s notorious BR-319 highway is quickly moving closer to becoming a fait accompli. Together with planned side roads, BR-319 would open vast areas of Amazon rainforest to the entry of deforesters. A working group convened by the Ministry of Transportation will soon release a report intended to justify approval of the project’s environmental license. Congressional approval of legislation to force granting the license is also looming.
- Despite a constant political discourse claiming that governance will contain deforestation and tourists will admire the forest from their cars as they drive on a “park road,” the reality on an Amazon frontier is very different. Most of what happens once access is provided by road is outside of the government’s control.
- The consequences of unleashing deforestation in the last great block of Amazon forest would be catastrophic for Brazil, threatening the water carried to São Paulo by the winds known as “flying rivers” and pushing global warming past a tipping point.
- An earlier version of this text was published in Portuguese by Amazônia Real. It is a commentary and does not necessarily reflect the views of Mongabay.

In Brazil’s soy belt, community seed banks offer hope for the Amazon (Feb 15 2024)
- In Brazil’s state of Mato Grosso, monoculture has replaced large swathes of the Amazon rainforest and ushered in changes in climate patterns, including severe droughts and scarce rains, according to climate experts.
- Traditional and Indigenous peoples are looking to counter the impacts of large-scale soy plantations in the region by setting up community seed banks and reforesting degraded lands with species native to the Amazon.
- Experts say seed initiatives could play a key role in restoration efforts as Brazil scrambles to rehabilitate 60,000 square kilometers (23,160 square miles) of deforested land by 2030 and agribusiness faces global demands to reverse the damage it has inflicted on the Amazon.
- Seed banks could also help restore the biodiversity being lost in the Amazon, preserve species central to Indigenous cultures, and mitigate climate change, locally and globally.

Brazil’s 2024-2027 “Transversal Environmental Agenda”: The elephants in the room (commentary) (Feb 4 2024)
- Brazil’s current 4-year development plan is accompanied by a “Transversal Environmental Agenda,” released last week, to coordinate environmental measures across the different federal agencies.
- While the agenda lists many worthwhile items in the portfolios of the various ministries, it fails in the most basic role such an agenda should play: ensuring that government actions do not cause environmental catastrophes.
- Missing subjects include foregoing building roads that open Amazon forest to deforestation, legalizing illegal land claims that stimulates an unending cycle of land grabbing and invasion, plans for hydroelectric dams in Amazonia, expanding oil and gas drilling and the burning of fossil fuels that must end without delay if global warming is to be controlled.
- An earlier version of this text was published in Portuguese by Amazônia Real. It is a commentary and does not necessarily reflect the views of Mongabay.

Grassroots efforts and an Emmy-winning film help Indigenous fight in Brazil (Jan 29 2024)
- The 2022 documentary “The Territory” won an Emmy award this January, shining a light on the Uru-eu-wau-wau Indigenous people and the invasions, conflicts and threats from land grabbers in their territory in the Brazilian Amazon from 2018 to 2021.
- After years of increasing invasions and deforestation in the protected area, experts say the situation has slowly improved in the past three years, and both Indigenous and government officials in the region “feel a little safer.”
- Grassroots surveillance efforts, increased visibility of the problems, and a more effective federal crackdown against invaders have helped tackle illegal land occupiers and allowed the Indigenous populations to take their land back.
- Despite the security improvements, however, the territory still struggles against invasions and deforestation within the region, experts say.

Terra Legal program to regularize small property owners | Chapter 4 of “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon” (Jan 25 2024)
- Mongabay is publishing a new edition of the book, “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon,” in short installments and in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.
- Author Timothy J. Killeen is an academic and expert who, since the 1980s, has studied the rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia, where he lived for more than 35 years.
- Chronicling the efforts of nine Amazonian countries to curb deforestation, this edition provides an overview of the topics most relevant to the conservation of the region’s biodiversity, ecosystem services and Indigenous cultures, as well as a description of the conventional and sustainable development models that are vying for space within the regional economy.
- Click the “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon” link atop this page to see chapters 1-13 as they are published during 2023 and 2024.

Why the Amazon’s small streams have a major impact on its grand rivers (Jan 18 2024)
- An unprecedented time-series study in the basin of the Tapajós River, a major tributary of the Amazon, assesses the level of degradation of small rivers threatened by agribusiness expansion.
- Researchers from several universities will assess the conservation status of 100 streams spread between the municipalities of Santarém and Paragominas, at the confluence of the Tapajós and the Amazon, which were first analyzed in 2010.
- The impact of dirt roads and their network of river crossings, which causes sediment load, siltation, erosion and changes in water quality, was one of the factors that caught researchers’ attention in the initial time-series study.
- Experts say that local development models should ideally start from water to land, rather than the other way around, given the importance of water for the rainforest, its biodiversity, and the inhabitants who depend on both.

Agrarian reform agencies and national land registry systems in the Pan Amazon (Jan 18 2024)
- Mongabay has begun publishing a new edition of the book, “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon,” in short installments and in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.
- Author Timothy J. Killeen is an academic and expert who, since the 1980s, has studied the rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia, where he lived for more than 35 years.
- Chronicling the efforts of nine Amazonian countries to curb deforestation, this edition provides an overview of the topics most relevant to the conservation of the region’s biodiversity, ecosystem services and Indigenous cultures, as well as a description of the conventional and sustainable development models that are vying for space within the regional economy.
- Click the “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon” link atop this page to see chapters 1-13 as they are published during 2023 and 2024.

The dynamics of violence in pursuit of land in the Pan Amazon (Jan 17 2024)
- Mongabay has begun publishing a new edition of the book, “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon,” in short installments and in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.
- Author Timothy J. Killeen is an academic and expert who, since the 1980s, has studied the rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia, where he lived for more than 35 years.
- Chronicling the efforts of nine Amazonian countries to curb deforestation, this edition provides an overview of the topics most relevant to the conservation of the region’s biodiversity, ecosystem services and Indigenous cultures, as well as a description of the conventional and sustainable development models that are vying for space within the regional economy.
- Click the “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon” link atop this page to see chapters 1-13 as they are published during 2023 and 2024.

Amazonia in flames: Unlearned lessons from the 2023 Manaus smoke crisis (commentary) (Jan 17 2024)
- In 2023 the city of Manaus, in central Amazonia, found itself covered in dense smoke from burning rainforest, with levels of toxic PM 2.5 particulates even higher than those experienced that year during the pollution crisis in New Delhi, India.
- The governor of Brazil’s state of Amazonas, where Manaus is located, blamed the neighboring state of Pará for the smoke, a politically convenient theory we show to be false.
- The fires responsible for the smoke were south of Manaus in an area of Amazonas impacted by the notorious BR-319 highway, where a proposed “reconstruction” project would have disastrous environmental consequences by opening vast areas of rainforest to the entry of deforesters.The BR-319 highway project is a top priority for politicians in Amazonas, who take pains not to admit to the project’s impacts. The project’s environmental license is not yet approved, and the Manaus smoke crisis should serve as a warning as to how serious those impacts would be.
- This text is a commentary and does not necessarily reflect the views of Mongabay.

Thousands of tree species at risk of extinction in Atlantic Forest: study (Jan 16 2024)
- A study published in Science found that two-thirds of the populations of all 4,950 tree species that make up the Atlantic Forest are threatened with extinction.
- The Atlantic forest, which stretches along Brazil’s southern Atlantic coast, has experienced severe deforestation over recent decades due to expanding cities and agriculture, a result of more than 70% of the Brazilian population living in and around the forest.
- The researchers hope that some of the tree species will be included or updated in the IUCN Red List, which tracks the conservation status of flora and fauna. That could make it easier to develop future conservation strategies.

Land in the Pan Amazon, the ultimate commodity: Chapter 4 of “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon” (Jan 9 2024)
- Mongabay has begun publishing a new edition of the book, “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon,” in short installments and in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.
- Author Timothy J. Killeen is an academic and expert who, since the 1980s, has studied the rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia, where he lived for more than 35 years.
- Chronicling the efforts of nine Amazonian countries to curb deforestation, this edition provides an overview of the topics most relevant to the conservation of the region’s biodiversity, ecosystem services and Indigenous cultures, as well as a description of the conventional and sustainable development models that are vying for space within the regional economy.
- Click the “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon” link atop this page to see chapters 1-13 as they are published during 2023 and 2024.

2024 outlook for rainforests (Jan 3 2024)
- Last week, Mongabay published a recap of the major trends in the world’s tropical rainforests for 2023.
- Here’s a brief look at some of the key issues to monitor in 2024.
- These include: Brazil, elections in DRC and Indonesia, forest carbon markets, el Niño, global inflation and commodity prices, advancements in forest data, and progress on high level commitments.

The year in rainforests: 2023 (Dec 29 2023)
- The following is Mongabay’s annual recap of major tropical rainforest storylines.
- While the data is still preliminary, it appears that deforestation declined across the tropics as a whole in 2023 due to developments in the Amazon, which has more than half the world’s remaining primary tropical forests.
- Some of the other big storylines for the year: Lula prioritizes the Amazon; droughts in the Amazon and Indonsia; Indonesia holds the line on deforestation despite el Niño; regulation on imports of forest-risk commodities; an eventful year in the forest carbon market; rainforests and Indigenous peoples; and rampant illegality.

Company sells Indigenous land in Amazonas as NFTs without community’s knowledge (Dec 26 2023)
- Areas of the Apurinã territory in the Lower Seruini area, in southern Amazonas state, were sold by Nemus under an NFT project that promises to preserve the forest and generate carbon credits.
- Brazil’s Federal Prosecution Service recommended suspending the project in December 2022, but a story by InfoAmazonia showed that negotiations continue on the internet; plots in an Indigenous land with its demarcation process underway are traded as NFTs for $17-603.
- Indigenous communities were not properly consulted about the company’s plans and are now calling for government action.
- Nemus told prosecutors that the area was not on “a properly demarcated Indigenous land” and therefore the company understood that “no article of ILO 169 convention on consultation applies.”

Colombian companies defy laws, push Amazon carbon projects in Indigenous lands (Dec 22 2023)
- The promise of an Indigenous university persuaded leaders from the Upper Solimões Indigenous lands, in the Brazilian Amazonas state, to sign carbon contracts with Colombian companies.
- FUNAI, the Indigenous affairs agency, denied authorization for projects in Indigenous lands and advised against signing contracts; the process did not include prior consultation as provided for in ILO Convention 169, of which Brazil is a signatory.
- Indigenous people have not been aware of FUNAI’s guidelines and say they believe there will be classes at the university next year.
- FUNAI and Brazil’s Ministry of Education are not aware of a university project funded with money from carbon credits and say that contracts could be considered null and void.

Detailed NASA analysis finds Earth and Amazon in deep climate trouble (Dec 21 2023)
- A NASA study analyzed the future action of six climate variables in all the world’s regions — air temperature, precipitation, relative humidity, short- and long wave solar radiation and wind speed — if Earth’s average temperature reaches 2° Celsius (3.6° Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, which could occur by 2040 if emissions keep rising at current rates.
- The authors used advanced statistical techniques to downscale climate models at a resolution eight times greater than most previous models. This allows for identification of climate variations on a daily basis across the world, something essential since climate impacts unfold gradually, rather than as upheavals.
- The study found that the Amazon will be the area with the greatest reduction in relative humidity. An analysis by the Brazilian space agency INPE showed that some parts of this rainforest biome have already reached maximum temperatures of more than 3°C (5.4°F) over 1960 levels.
- Regardless of warnings from science and Indigenous peoples of the existential threat posed by climate change, the world’s largest fossil fuel producers, largely with government consent, plan to further expand fossil fuel exploration, says a U.N. report. That’s despite a COP28 climate summit deal “transitioning away from fossil fuels.”

Other financial systems in the agricultural practice of the Amazon (Dec 20 2023)
- Mongabay has begun publishing a new edition of the book, “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon,” in short installments and in three languages: Spanish, English and Portuguese.
- Author Timothy J. Killeen is an academic and expert who, since the 1980s, has studied the rainforests of Brazil and Bolivia, where he lived for more than 35 years.
- Chronicling the efforts of nine Amazonian countries to curb deforestation, this edition provides an overview of the topics most relevant to the conservation of the region’s biodiversity, ecosystem services and Indigenous cultures, as well as a description of the conventional and sustainable development models that are vying for space within the regional economy.
- Click the “A Perfect Storm in the Amazon” link atop this page to see chapters 1-13 as they are published during 2023 and 2024.

Race to destroy the Amazon forest: Brazil’s National Congress set to force construction of Highway BR-319 (commentary) (Dec 20 2023)
- Highway BR-319 and planned connecting roads would bring deforesters to much of what remains of Brazil’s Amazon forest. BR-319 would connect the notorious “arc of deforestation” in southern Amazonia to Manaus, in central Amazonia.
- From Manaus, existing roads would provide access to northern Amazonia, while roads planned to branch off BR-319 would open the western half of Brazil’s State of Amazonas to deforestation. BR-319 is now on a fast track for approval by Brazil’s ruralist-controlled National Congress.
- The proposed law interferes with decisions to be made by Brazil’s licensing system and by the Amazon Fund. While these are not in purview of the National Congress, such things can happen in practice in Brazil.
- An earlier version of this text was published in Portuguese by Amazônia Real. This is a commentary and does not necessarily reflect the views of Mongabay.