Deforestation and biodiversity loss

Photo credit: Nature World News

Dung Beetles have a very strong role in the Brazilian Amazonian ecosystem. They clear out all dung–and hey, it’s a job that has to be done, right? They are being threatened by deforestation. (Photo : Wikimedia Commons)

Biodiversity in the Amazon is Threatened by Deforestation

By Samantha Mathewson

After surveying 2,000 species of plants, birds, beetles, ants and bees across more than 300 diverse sites in the Brazilian Amazon, researchers say that deforestation has, without a doubt, caused a strong loss of biodiversity. They also say that setting aside a network of preserved forest may make it possible to maintain different populations of plants and animals. Their findings were recently published in the journal Ecology Letters.

“Pre-existing differences in the undisturbed forests plus the way in which they had been altered by human activity had an impact on which species survived.” Dr. Ricardo Solar, lead author of the study and a research fellow at Brazil´s Universidade Federal de Viçosa, said a statement. “Some of the disturbed forests were able to maintain up to 80 percent of the species found in pristine forests — this gives us hope. It is vitally important that reserves should not be concentrated in a single part of a region, but as a widespread network of forest reserves.”

Read the full article: Nature World News

Amazon resettlement areas with disproportionate amount of deforestation

Photo credit: SciDevNet

Copyright: Flickr/Neil Palmer/CIAT

Amazon settlement study disputes deforestation claims

“Deforestation rates within the settlements are following the same rates that apply outside the settlements since 2004” – Pedro Bruzzi,  Brazil’s National Institute for Colonisation and Agrarian Reform (INCRA)

by Gareth Willmer

Speed read

  • About 1.2 million have migrated to Amazon through official programmes
  • The government says most tree loss occurs before smallholders arrive
  • But resettlement areas found to cause disproportionate amount of deforestation

The resettlement of smallholder farmers in Brazil has spurred deforestation in the Amazon, according to fresh research on nearly 2,000 settlements in the region.

The findings undermine government claims that most deforestation occurs through logging before resettlement takes place. A study funded by Brazil’s National Congress published in PLOS One yesterday found that resettlement areas account for 13.5 per cent of deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia since the 1970s, despite covering only 5.3 per cent of the land.
Around 1.2 million people have been resettled since the 1970s, when the government encouraged migration into the Amazon. Other resettlement programmes aimed to give more land to the poor and reduce wealth disparities, but these have exacerbated deforestation as settlers clear jungle for farmland, the paper says.

The two researchers behind the study looked at satellite data of settlements and their wider environmental impact through farming as well as construction of infrastructure such as roads. Study author Maurício Schneider, a researcher at the National Congress, says deforestation rates are worse in settlements created between 2000 and 2010.

Read the full article: SciDevNet

Deforestation in Brazil affects rainfall

Photo credit: Google

WWF warns on looming Amazon deforestation disaster

The science is clear: Forest loss behind Brazil’s drought


New research is showing the effects of forests on rainfall in the Amazon, and as deforestation in the region continues, rainfall in the southern part of Brazil will continue to be affected


The role of tropical deforestation in global climate change has been the subject of much international discussion and debate in the media and in policy forums like the UN Climate Change Convention. However, the role of deforestation in local climate change has received much less attention.

Now, with southern Brazil suffering from unprecedented drought, attention is turning toward more localized impacts of deforestation.  Dr. Antonio Nobre, a scientist at the Brazilian National Space Research Institute, released a report, “The Future Climate of Amazonia,” that linked the current drought to deforestation in the Amazon Basin. Politicians are questioning these conclusions. What does the science say?

Read the full article: Forests News

Second lowest amount of Amazon deforestation

Photo credit: Pixabay

Spider monkey in Amazon rainforest

Experts question slowing Amazon deforestation trend

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest fell by 18 per cent this year, according to official government figures, but some experts are surprised by the news and fear the true trend remains upward.

The estimated area of forest cleared in the 12 months to the end of July fell from 5,891 square kilometres in 2013 to 4,848 square kilometres in 2014, an area more than twice the size of London, United Kingdom.

This is the second lowest amount of deforestation recorded since monitoring started in 1988, according to Brazil’s government.

The data, released on 26 November, come from analysis of satellite images taken by the forest clearing detection service Prodes, run by the country’s National Institute for Space Research (INPE).

The lowest figure on record was for the period of 2011-2012, with 4,571 square kilometres of forest cleared. But the following year saw a 29 per cent increase to 5,891 square kilometres.

Nonetheless, the authorities now say the underlying trend is downward, stating that this year, 83 per cent less forest was destroyed than in 2004.

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