Annual data confirms Amazon deforestation highest since 2008

by Katie Nelson

November 30, 2020

Data released today by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE) documents the highest rate of deforestation since 2008

São Paulo, Brazil — Annual Brazilian deforestation data (PRODES), released today by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE), shows the highest rate of deforestation in the Amazon since 2008. The rate represents massive destruction in the biome over the past year — with approximately 4,281 square miles deforested between August 2019 and July 2020 [1].

“This was already expected. Instead of acting to prevent the increase in deforestation, the Bolsonaro government has been denying the reality of the situation, dismantling environmental agencies, and attacking NGOs who work on the ground in the Amazon. Because of the federal government’s anti-environmental policies, deforestation in Brazil is almost three times higher than the target for 2020 set by the country’s National Policy on Climate Change [2],” said Cristiane Mazzetti, Amazon Campaigner at Greenpeace Brazil.

Deforestation in the Amazon increased by 9.5 percent between August 2019 and July 2020, according to the Brazilian official annual deforestation monitoring system [1]. According to PRODES, the state of Pará was the most deforested in the Brazilian Amazon, followed by Mato Grosso, Amazonas, and Rondônia. In Pará, the destruction advanced illegally, over the boundaries of protected areas, Indigenous lands and public lands. Meanwhile, Bolsonaro’s government has proposed a 35 percent reduction in the budget for environmental protection for 2021 and discusses repressing the activities of non-governmental organizations in the Amazon.

“These numbers are a deliberate result of the current Brazilian government’s agenda, as well as the actions of the U.S.-headquartered investors like BlackRock,” said Daniel Brindis, Forests Campaign Director, Greenpeace USA. 

“Behind the numbers are destructive policies encouraging the invasion and theft of Indigenous Peoples’ lands. As President-elect Joe Biden urges Brazil to end deforestation, he not only needs to look at the intentional causes of this increase, but he also must address the U.S.’s role in the crisis.”

Photos and videos of Amazon deforestation are available here.


[1] Deforestation data released by PRODES are available here. This is equivalent to approximately 11,088 square kilometers.

[2] Brazil’s deforestation target set by the National Policy on Climate Change is available here (in Portuguese).


Katie Nelson, Strategic Communications Specialist, Greenpeace USA: +1 (678) 644-1681, [email protected]

Katie Nelson

By Katie Nelson

Katie Nelson is a Senior Communications Specialist at Greenpeace USA.

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