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  • Amazonian deforestation caused by illegal mining in Madre de Dios, Peru, March 5, 2019.

    Amazonian deforestation caused by illegal mining in Madre de Dios, Peru, March 5, 2019. | Photo: Reuters

Published 30 March 2019

This is the first time that a standardized annual mapping has been carried out for all the Amazon basin countries.

The Amazon basin lost 295,000 square kilometers of primary forest between 2000 and 2017- a surface similar to the Republic of Ecuador's size- the Ecociencia Foundation, a member of the Amazon Geo-Referenced Socio-Environmental Information Network (Raisg), said in a report published Friday.

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In that same period, the Amazon basin area mainly dedicated to agriculture and livestock grew by 41 percent, Ecociencia said.

These results were obtained by analyzing information collected at MapBiomas, an interactive database which allows to recognize land use changes and to monitor the pressures and threats on primary forests in the Amazon basin altogether.

"The first standardized annual mapping has been carried out for all the countries of the region, which allows knowing the state of plant cover as well as land use trends such as replacing the forest for agricultural crops or pastures," Beto Ricardo, coordinator of the Raisg, said, adding that the study is "an important step towards the goal of building and promoting a comprehensive vision of the Amazon considering political aspects of a region shared among eight countries."

Ecociencia's analysis covered the Amazon basin countries (Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Guyana and Suriname) and six ecosystems (Amazon, Cerrado, Pantanal, Andes, Chaco-Chiquitano and Bolivian Tucuman).

Regarding Ecuador, the study showed the land surface dedicated to agriculture and livestock increased by 23 percent between 2000 and 2007.

"This information is relevant because it provides annual data on the transition from the original coverage to other land uses," Carmen Josse, Ecociencia's scientific director, said and added that the study provides a better understanding of times required to forests recovery.

MapBiomas is a collaborative work initiative in which non-governmental organizations, universities and companies from Brazil also participate. Its purpose is to provide an annual series of coverage and land use maps of the Amazonian ecosystems and make them available to the public.

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