Deforestation in the Cerrado: alerts break new record – 05/26/2023 – Environment

Deforestation in the Cerrado: alerts break new record – 05/26/2023 – Environment

The Deter alerts, Inpe’s (National Institute for Space Research) system for detecting deforestation in real time, reached a new record in the cerrado in 2023. From January to May 18, the area adds up to 2,833 km², almost twice the Teresina area and the largest for the historical series, which started in 2019.

Considering only partial data for May, the warnings indicate 627 km², a number that should increase with the arrival of the high season in deforestation.

The region is pressured by agricultural activity and does not have the same legal protection as the neighboring biome, the Amazon. The forest recorded 1,673 km² of deforested area between January and May 19 and contributes, together with the cerrado, in regulating rainfall and water distribution in the country.

The next few months will be a challenge for combating deforestation, facilitated by dry weather and lack of rain —not by chance, the peaks of the Deter historical series in the cerrado are in this period.

The system maps and issues deforestation alerts to guide actions by Ibama and other inspection bodies. The results represent an indication, but they are not the closed data on deforestation, which is published by Prodes (Project for Monitoring Deforestation in the Legal Amazon by Satellite), also from Inpe.

According to experts, the legal protection of the biome is almost the opposite of that of the Amazon. While rural properties in the rainforest must protect 80% of the vegetation, this minimum legal reserve is between 20% and 35% in the cerrado.

Still, the biome has only 7% of its total protected area, against 50% of the Amazon. There is also an indirect pressure that comes from international regulation. Laws like the one approved by the European Parliament restrict products that are linked to deforestation in the Amazon, but this does not apply to the Cerrado.

In addition to the recomposition of personnel, the federal government has said that the revision of the Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Cerrado will begin in July. Its counterpart for the Amazon, the so-called PPCDAm, is in the process of analyzing the contributions received in public consultation.

Still, in the midst of political pressure that caused setbacks to the environmental structure in the Executive, the Environment and Agriculture and Livestock ministries are working on a version of the Crop Plan, scheduled for June, with incentives for low-carbon agriculture, in addition to creating systems bonuses for producers who adopt good conservation and production tracking practices.

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