Long-term forest degradation surpasses deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

Thursday, September 10, 2020 - 13:31 in Earth & Climate

Although deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon are well known, the extent of the area affected by forest degradation is a notable data gap, with implications for conservation biology, carbon cycle science, and international policy. We generated a long-term spatially quantified assessment of forest degradation for the entire Brazilian Amazon from 1992 to 2014. We measured and mapped the full range of activities that degrade forests and evaluated the relationship with deforestation. From 1992 to 2014, the total area of degraded forest was 337,427 square kilometers (km2), compared with 308,311 km2 that were deforested. Forest degradation is a separate and increasing form of forest disturbance, and the area affected is now greater than that due to deforestation.

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