Amazon deforestation rates decrease from last year

Press release - 26 November, 2014
Brasília, 26 November 2014 - Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has decreased by 18 percent, according to official data released today by the Brazilian environmental ministry. This data covers deforestation figures from August 2013 to July 2014 when 4,848 km2 of the Amazon rainforest was destroyed.

This announcement marks a return to decreasing deforestation rates in the Amazon. Last year, Brazil’s deforestation rates increased 29 percent between August 2012 and July 2013, reaching 5,871 km2.

Paulo Adario, Senior Forest Strategy Advisor for Greenpeace International welcomed the announcement.

“The decrease in deforestation rates announced by the government is a relief after last year’s dramatic increase. But deforestation is still a major threat and Brazil can do even better. In order to permanently halt the destruction of the Amazon, the government must now commit to a policy of Zero Deforestation,” said Adario.

The recent decrease in deforestation is an indication that agreements like the Soy Moratorium and the Cattle Agreement continue to mitigate the continuous expansion of the powerful Brazilian agribusiness sector in the Amazon. Yesterday, the landmark Soy Moratorium was renewed for another 18 months. This voluntary agreement between global soy traders, the Brazilian government and civil society is credited with contributing to the reduction of deforestation in the Amazon.

Zero Deforestation is necessary to protect the Amazon rainforest and to reduce the threats of climate change. Deforestation in the Amazon is the principal cause of greenhouse gases emissions and is already being linked to extreme climate events.

 “We can already see the affects of deforestation on Brazil's climate. The severe drought in Sao Paulo has been widely attributed to forest loss. Brazil's agribusiness sector, responsible for much of this destruction, will pay the price with the dry weather already affecting harvests.”

“Without forests, there is no rain. Without rain there is no water for our homes and farms. Instead of defending our forests, the principal Brazilian political parties spent the year praising and granting favors to big agribusiness, the principal enemy of the forests,” added Adario.

The return of a decrease in deforestation rates is proof that Brazil can continue to grow without increasing deforestation rates. Brazil is proving that it is possible to decrease deforestation and related CO2 emissions. Now the government needs to ensure deforestation reduction continues to Zero Deforestation and adopt an energy matrix based on renewable energy such as solar and wind.



Jessica Miller, Greenpeace International Communications +1 646 309 5023

Greenpeace International Pressdesk: +31 (0)20 718 2470,