Atlantic Forest: deforestation reaches 125 parks Ibirapuera – 05/24/2023 – Environment
Deforestation in the Atlantic Forest was above 20,000 hectares last year. The deforested area is 125 times that of Ibirapuera Park, in the city of São Paulo, and is the second largest in the last six years.
With only 24% of the original cover remaining, the Atlantic Forest had 20,075 hectares (or 200.75 km²) felled in 2021-2022, a drop of 7.2% compared to the previous period (2020-2021), which recorded 21,642 hectares deforested.
The data are from a report by the NGO SOS Mata Atlântica and Inpe (National Institute for Space Research) published on Wednesday night (24).
“For the Atlantic Forest, we are talking about a value that is still very high, far above what was once the lowest index, of 11 thousand hectares, in 2017-2018, and is part of a cumulative process of five centuries of deforestation”, he says. the executive director of SOS Mata Atlântica, Luis Fernando Guedes Pinto.
For him, the rise in 2022 still reflects the tone of the government of former President Jair Bolsonaro (PL). “There was expectation with weakened legislation and enforcement.”
Five states —Minas Gerais (7,456 ha), Bahia (5,719 ha), Paraná (2,883 ha), Mato Grosso do Sul (1,115 ha) and Santa Catarina (1,041 ha)— account for 90% of the destruction. While eight units registered an increase, nine had a reduction from 2021 to 2022.
The leadership of Minas Gerais and Bahia, according to Guedes Pinto, is due to factors such as the expansion of agricultural activity, which includes Piauí and Mato Grosso do Sul.
When asked to comment on the numbers, the Minas Gerais government says it has already recovered 26,500 hectares of Atlantic forest, and that inspections found 4,069 violations in 2021 and 5,485 in 2022.
The secretary of Environment, Economic Development, Science and Technology of Mato Grosso do Sul, Jaime Verruck, in turn, says that the state does not authorize suppression of the Atlantic Forest, and that it uses the maps published by SOS Mata Atlântica and Inpe for inspection on rural properties.
“If these areas have illegal deforestation, they will be fined and embargoed”, he says. Also according to Verruck, the state will launch its own monitoring system in June.
In Paraná and Santa Catarina, where the biome predominates, deforestation takes place on the edges of the forest, in small but numerous areas. “Are many [desmates] of three, five or ten hectares, to try to escape inspection”, says Guedes Pinto.
The government of Santa Catarina states that it has developed its own monitoring system in the state, using satellite images. In addition, it bets on partnerships and the creation of Private Natural Heritage Reserves, in addition to ten state conservation units to protect 118,000 hectares of Atlantic forest.
Another factor that contributes to deforestation, explains SOS Mata Atlântica, are the more urbanized regions and large cities in the country contained in the biome. In these municipalities, real estate pressure contributes in a generalized way to the cutting of vegetation.
The government of São Paulo claims that inspection by the Secretariat for the Environment, Infrastructure and Logistics, together with the Environmental Military Police, resulted in 10,064 notices of environmental infraction in 2021 and 9,850 in 2022.
“Thus, considering the maintenance of inspection efforts in the field and assessments, there is a decrease in the area with alterations in the native vegetation in the state.”
Rio de Janeiro, which recorded growth for the second consecutive year, has among its combat actions, according to the state government, a satellite monitoring program. Since 2016, it has carried out 1,200 inspection actions, of which 76% confirmed illegal deforestation.
The administration claims that 30% of the Atlantic Forest area in the state is protected by means of conservation units. The Rio de Janeiro government also records that an analysis of 2022 alerts indicated that 100 hectares of deforestation are part of forestry and rock slides.
Biologist Maria Otávia Crepaldi, who was not part of the NGO’s study, adds that deforestation in Bahia also comes from property expansion in the Santa Cruz Cabrália region, in the south of the state, in extensive areas of the coast that make inspection difficult.
“These are very large condominiums, which try to be an eco-condominium, but that is not feasible, it’s greenwashing. And the authorizations for the suppression of native vegetation are made based on topographic and engineering plans, not with biologists, forest engineers”, evaluates the researcher.
Crepaldi also states that the obligation of 20% of the legal reserve on the properties hinders the maintenance of forest connections.
“These spots [de floresta] they don’t communicate, and without that you harm the genetic flow of the species. Whether urbanized centers or monocultures, animals do not live, mate, eat or sleep there. They do this in the native forest”, says the biologist.
wanted by Sheetthe secretariats of Piauí, Paraná and Bahia did not respond until the publication of this text.
This Wednesday, SOS Mata Atlântica also released data from the Mata Atlântica SAD (Deforestation Alert System) in its annual report, in partnership with the company Arcplan and the Mapbiomas platform.
With a different methodology from the survey released annually by the NGO on a date close to the Day of the Atlantic Forest (celebrated on May 27), the new information from SAD points out that the total deforestation of the Atlantic Forest may have reached, in 2022, 75 thousand hectares.
The account, according to Guedes Pinto, includes, in addition to the 20,075 ha of mature forest —monitored using the same methodology since 1985—, another 55,088 ha of young forest cut down. As these are new data, there is no historical series for comparison.
“For the first time, we published data on these young forests and small fragments that play a connecting role in preserving areas of biodiversity and guaranteeing the future of species”, he explains.
Most of this young vegetation, says the executive director, comes from the natural regeneration of the Atlantic forest. “These are areas abandoned due to little agricultural aptitude, for example, which recover more quickly.”
The Planeta em Transe project is supported by the Open Society Foundations.