The country with the largest amount of primary rainforest, Brazil, again tops the list for the largest loss of primary forest. More than 40 percent of the loss of primary tropical forests in 2021 occurred in Brazil, a total of 1.5 million hectares, according to a study by the World Resources Institute, of the University of Maryland, in the United States.
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The rate of primary forest loss in Brazil has been persistently high in recent years. Fire-related losses have fluctuated based on the level of wildfires raging, most recently peaking in 2020 in the Amazon and Pantanal.
Meanwhile, non-fire-related losses, which in Brazil are most often associated with agricultural expansion, increased 9 percent from 2020 to 2021. This finding is consistent with Brazil‘s official monitoring system, PRODES, which found that 2021 had the highest rate of total deforestation in the Amazon since 2006, when measures were implemented to drastically reduce deforestation.
Brazil‘s western Amazon, in particular, faced intensifying primary forest loss, with its key states seeing more than 25 percent increases in non-fire-related losses from 2020 to 2021.
This part of the Amazon has several areas of new primary forest loss hotspots, meaning places that experienced a statistically significant occurrence of new losses in 2021. Many of the new hotspots encompass large-scale clearings, likely for pasture cattle, along existing roads.
Some of these highways, like the BR-319 that runs north-south in Amazonas, are slated for paving and improvements, which has already resulted in increased deforestation.
According to the report’s findings, the loss of primary forests in Brazil is especially worrying given new evidence that the Amazon rainforest is losing resilience and may be closer to a tipping point than previously thought, where interactions between deforestation, climate change and fires lead to the irreversible transformation of massive areas of the Amazon.
The report reveals increased deforestation would not only result in large amounts of biodiversity loss and carbon emissions, but would also alter precipitation patterns critical to agricultural production.
Disclaimer: Via Telesur – Translated by RJ983
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