Brazil lost 24 trees per second in 2020

Unpublished report by MapBiomas Alert for the whole country shows that deforestation rose 14% last year; 99.8% of deforestation shows signs of illegality and only 2% had any action taken by Ibama

Deforestation in the six Brazilian biomes grew 13.6% in 2020, reaching 13,853 km2 (1,385,300 hectares), an area nine times larger than the city of São Paulo. Of this total, 61% are on Amazon. This is shown by an unprecedented analysis of 74,218 deforestation alerts across the country, published this Friday by the MapBiomas Alert Project.

Deforestation grew 9% in the Amazon, 6% in the Cerrado, 43% in the Pantanal and 99% in the Pampa. In the Atlantic Forest it exploded, rising 125%. In Caatinga the growth was 405%, but it was due to the fact that the biome now has a new deforestation detection system designed specifically for the biome.

MapBiomas Alert analyse alerts provided by five deforestation detection systems using high-resolution images and artificial intelligence to validate, refine and produce reports on every alert detected. The alerts are cross referenced with land tenure and territorial boundaries as well as administrative information. The analyses shows that almost all deforestation alerts issued last year have one or more signs of illegality: 99.8% of them, equivalent to 95% of the deforested area, do not have authorization or overlap with protected areas or violate the Forests Code.

The evidence of illegality achieve over 95% of the alerts in all biomes. It is lower in the Cerrado, where 97.78% of the deforestation alert area has at least one sign of irregularity – be it lack of authorization in Sinaflor, the IBAMA system where, in theory, all deforestation requests need to be registered and released, whether overlapping with protected areas, sustainable forest management plans or non-compliance with the Forest Code. In the Amazon, it is 99.4%. The conclusion is similar to that of the first deforestation report by MapBiomas, which last year showed that 99% of deforestation in 2019 had signs of irregularity.

However, the number of deforestation warnings that received a response from the federal government is very low: only 2% of alerts and 5% of the area deforested between 2019 and 2020 were fined or embargoed by Ibama until April 2021. In the case of the Amazon, in the 52 municipalities considered critical by the Ministry of the Environment's policies, 2% of the alerts and 9.3% of the deforested area were punished. In the 11 municipalities defined by the Amazon Council as the highest priority, 3% of the alerts and 12% of the deforested area had actions of this type.

Only 50 out of 5570 municipalities concentrate 37.2% of alerts and 49.2% of the deforested area in the country. They are led by Altamira (PA, with 60,608 hectares, an increase of 12% compared to 2019), São Félix do Xingu (PA, 45,587 hectares) and Porto Velho (RO, 44,076 hectares). Of the 20 most deforested municipalities, only three are outside the Amazon: Formosa do Rio Preto and São Desidério, in the Cerrado of Bahia, and Corumbá, in the Pantanal of Mato Grosso do Sul.

The State of Pará leads the ranking of deforestation in the country, with 33% of alerts and 26% of the total deforested area (366 thousand hectares), followed by Mato Grosso, with 13%, and Maranhão, with 12%.

Data from MapBiomas Alerta show that in at least two-thirds of the alerts it is possible to identify those responsible for deforestation: 68.3% of the validated detections have total or partial overlap with areas registered in the CAR, the Rural Environmental Registry. In Pantanal and Amazônia, this number is even higher: 84.8% and 69.2%, respectively. In other words, in theory, these owners could be fined remotely, even by mail, since in order to be registered in the CAR, it is necessary to provide the applicant's data.

The report also presents an unprecedented calculation of the speed of deforestation: for the first time it was possible to estimate how much of Brazil's native vegetation cover every day in 2020: an average of 3,795 hectares were deforested, which gives an estimated loss of 24 trees every second during the year. On the most critical day of deforestation, July 31, 4,968 hectares were deforested, almost 575 m2 per second.

"Unfortunately, deforestation has grown in all biomes and the degree of illegality remains very high. It is necessary to ensure that deforestation is detected and reported and that those responsible are duly penalized and are not able to benefit from deforested areas", says Tasso Azevedo, general coordinator of MapBiomas. "In more than two thirds of the cases, it is also possible to know who is responsible. It is necessary for the enforcement agencies to fine and seize illegally deforested areas and for companies to eliminate these areas from their supply chains."


MapBiomas Alerta is an initiative of the MapBiomas consortium, formed by more than 20 organizations including NGOs, universities and technology companies. It processes deforestation alerts issued by five systems: Deter (from Inpe, for the Amazon and the Cerrado), the SAD (from Imazon, for the Amazon), the Glad (from the University of Maryland, for the Atlantic Forest, Pantanal and Pampa ), Sirad-X (from Instituto Socioambiental, for the Xingu basin), and the new SAD Caatinga (from Feira de Santana State University and Geodatin).

The alerts undergo a process of validation, refinement and definition of the temporal window of occurrence of deforestation based on daily satellite images of high spatial resolution. Then, the deforestation data are crossed with territorial areas (such as biomes, states and municipalities), land areas (Rural Environmental Registry, Conservation Units and Indigenous Lands, for example) and administrative situation (such as the existence of authorization, assessment or embargo) and complete reports prepared for each deforestation alert.

All data and reports are made available publicly and free of charge on a web platform. The complete report with all data is available on the MapBiomas Alerta website. 


Brazil's Annual Deforestation Report - 2019

Unprecedented MapBiomas report consolidates deforestation data in all Brazilian biomes and points to loss of at least 1.2 million hectares of native vegetation

The first Annual Report on Deforestation in Brazil, released this Tuesday (26/05), shows, in an unprecedented way, the loss of native vegetation detected in all biomes of the country in 2019. For the first time, warnings of deforestation in the territory were analyzed and consolidated in a single survey, pointing out that Brazil has lost at least 1,218,708 hectares (12,187 km²) of native vegetation, an area equivalent to eight times the municipality of São Paulo.

More than 60% of the deforested area is in the Amazon, with 770 thousand hectares devastated. The second biome in which there was more loss was the Cerrado, 408.6 thousand hectares. Far behind are Pantanal (16,500 ha), Caatinga (12,100 ha), Atlantic Forest (10,600 ha) and Pampa (642 ha).

Amazonia and Cerrado are the best monitored biomes, with continuous monitoring systems, adapted for the respective regions. As the other biomes use data from a global system, without adaptations for specific conditions (types of vegetation, climate and landscape seasonality, for example), the calculated values ​​are considered conservative, that is, they may be undersized.

MapBiomas Alerta is a system for validating and refining alerts on deforestation, degradation and regeneration of native vegetation, with high resolution images, launched in June 2019. The analysis starts from the alerts generated by the Deter (Inpe), SAD systems (Imazon) and Glad (University of Maryland). The data is validated and refined with the support of high resolution satellite images (three meters), which allow to identify with great precision the deforested areas.

“Based on this methodology, the first Annual Report on Deforestation in Brazil was developed, which details the time and space where it is being deforested in the country. The analysis of each alert generates a report, which can be used by all agencies - public and private ”, says the coordinator of MapBiomas, Tasso Azevedo. The reports of the alerts are available on the internet at:

The methodology developed by MapBiomas Alerta allows to measure the speed of deforestation in an unprecedented dimension. Thus, it was possible to point out that the area deforested more quickly in 2019 is in the municipality of Jaborandi (BA), with 1,148 hectares, between May 8 and 27, reaching an average of 60 hectares per day. In terms of the size of deforestation, the largest area detected is in Altamira (PA): in a single event, 4,551 hectares of Amazon forest were cut down.

The states with the most events were: Pará (18.5 thousand), Acre (9.3 thousand), Amazonas (7 thousand), Rondônia (5.3 thousand) and Mato Grosso (4.7 thousand). In a deforested area, the top of the list is occupied by: Pará (299 thousand ha), Mato Grosso (202 thousand ha) and Amazonas (126 thousand ha).

When the ranking by municipalities is organized, half of the entire deforested area is at 50. Among the ten that most deforested in 2019, four are from Pará, three from Amazonas, one from Bahia, one from Mato Grosso and one from Rondônia. In total, 1,734 municipalities had areas of deforestation detected in 2019.

Another fundamental aspect: intersections with territorial layers, such as Conservation Units, Indigenous Lands and rural properties, carried out based on the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR), data on vegetation suppression authorizations and a forest management plan.

More than three quarters of the alerts overlap with at least one property registered in the CAR. There were 42.6 thousand rural properties with registered alerts, which represents 0.7% of the more than 5.6 million properties registered in the CAR. Just over a third of the alerts (38%) overlap totally or partially over legal reserve areas, areas of permanent or spring preservation and less than 1% have registered the authorization to suppress vegetation. "The report indicates that the rate of illegality in deforestation is extremely high, to the point that legal deforestation represents more the exception than the rule", concludes Azevedo.

About MapBiomas: a multi-institutional initiative, involving universities, NGOs and technology companies, focused on monitoring changes in land cover and use in Brazil.


Click here to read 1st Annual Deforestation Report of Brazil


Solange A. Barreira

+ 55 11 9 8108-7272

Claudio Angelo – Observatório do Clima

+55 61 9 9825-4783


MapBiomas Alert points out that 95% of the deforestation detected in the country in 2019 was not authorized

The system launched this Friday morning allows fast and effective monitoring and accountability of deforestation of Brazilian biomes

Brasilia (DF), June 7th, 2019 - Shortly after three months, an area of 89,741 hectares in Brazil, equivalent to two and a half times the city of Belo Horizonte, capital of Minas Gerais, was detected for deforestation. Of that total, 95% of the deforested territory did not have an authorization registered in the federal and state licensing systems, according to the project MapBiomas Alert. “This vast extent of native vegetation was not authorized and has a high chance of having occurred illegally,” observed Tasso Azevedo, coordinator of MapBiomas Alert, a system of validation and refinement of the deforestation alerts that comprise all of the Brazilian biomes and that in only six months has registered 4,577 alerts.

This tool was officially launched this Friday (June 7th) in Brasilia and is available online for free and for the public to subsidize environmental monitoring and the actions to prevent and combat illegal deforestation. With detailed and valid information, the alerts generated by the system can be used by the agencies responsible for the surveillance and protection of environmental areas with a greater effectiveness and speed to curb illegal deforestation and diminish impunity for environmental crimes.

With this tool, it is possible to detect that 40% of the validated alerts in the first trimester of 2019 occured in areas that could not have been deforested, such as conservation areas, indigenous lands, areas of permanent preservation, and springs.

The vast majority of the alerts occurred in the Cerrado (53% of the total) and in the Amazon (30% of the total), which together represent 2,989 alerts. The numbers for the Amazon will probably continue growing once the majority of the outstanding alerts, which are in that region, complete the validation and refinement process. The states that deforested the most were Mato Grosso (10.3% of the total area) and Pará (with 5.8% of the total area). “What is striking is that all of the states had records of deforestation during the periods analyzed by MapBiomas Alert,” observed Marcos Rosa, coordinator of the Atlantic Forest and Pantanal teams in the project.

How does this tool work

For each validated alert, MapBiomas Alert provides high-resolution images of the before and after the deforestation. The alert is delimited in a precise way, including the dates of the images, and for each one of them it is possible to generate online in a few seconds a complete report with the images and cross-checks with the areas of the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR), National Registry of Conservation Units (CNUC), indigenous territories, and other geographical limits (biomes, states, watersheds). They also provide the data to manage the authorizations and suppression of vegetation of the National System for the Control of the Origin of Forest Products (SINAFLOR/IBAMA) and recent history (2012 to 2017) in Brazil’s annual land cover and land use maps. Meaning that it is possible to obtain information of deforestation quickly, regardless of the actions being in a private property or protected area and if it was authorized.  

MapBiomas Alert enhances the use and the effectiveness of the alerts generated in Brazil, therefore, it cannot be classified as one more system to monitor deforestation.

The system results from consultations with government agencies that use systems of deforestation alerts - like the Ministry of the Environment (MMA), IBAMA, the Brazilian Forest Service (SFB), the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), and the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) - and with the providers of alerts, such as the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (IMAZON), University of Maryland, Center for the Management and Operation of the Amazon Protection System (CENSIPAM), and the ISA (Social-Environmental Institute). The data produced is public, for free, and can be accessed in the platform:

MapBiomas Alert Method

Every month, all of the alerts generated in Brazil are collected for the four main systems of deforestation detection in operation: DETER/INPE (Amazon and Cerrado), SAD/IMAZON (Amazon), SIPAMSAR/Ministry of Defense (Amazon), and GLAD/University of Maryland (other biomes).

The alerts are evaluated to exclude false positives (example: harvesting areas of planted forests) and then forwarded for a supervised classification of the images, based on the Planet images of the constellation of satellites of 3 m resolution and daily frequency. The process is done in the cloud with machine learning algorithms through the Google Earth Engine platform.

To validate and refine the alerts, teams of programmers, specialists on remote sensing, and specialists on conservation and land use are organized into teams for each biome and support for technology and systems.

The alerts can be viewed on different base maps, like in images from Google Earth’s satellites, roadmaps, and annual maps of coverage and land use of Brazil between 1985 and 2017 from MapBiomas (Collection 3.1).

What is MapBiomas

The project of Annual Land Cover and Land Use Mapping of Brazil (MapBiomas) was created in 2015 with the objective of contributing to the understanding of the land use in Brazil and other tropical countries.

Since 2015, it has developed a fast, reliable, and low-cost method to generate annual maps of land cover and land use of Brazil, starting in 1985 to present day.

MapBiomas is an initiative of the SEEG/OC (System of Estimates of Greenhouse Gas Emissions of the Climate Observatory) and is produced by a collaborative network of co-creators formed by NGOs, universities, and technology companies.

Biomes Coordination:

  • Amazon - Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (IMAZON)
  • Caatinga - State University of Feira de Santana (UEFS), Association of Northeastern Plants (APNE), and Geodatin
  • Cerrado - Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM)
  • Atlantic Forest - SOS Atlantic Forest Foundation and ArcPlan
  • Pampa - Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)
  • Pantanal - SOS Pantanal Institute and ArcPlan

 Cross-cutting Themes Coordination:

  • Pasture - Federal University of Goiás (LAPIG/UFG)
  • Agriculture - Agrosatellite
  • Coastal Zone - Institute of Technology Vale / Solved
  • Urban Areas - Terras App

Technology Partners:

  • Google
  • EcoStage
  • Terras App


  • Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI)
  • Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation
  • Arapyaú Institute
  • Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA)
  • Good Energies Foundation
  • Institute for Climate and Society(ICS)
  • Humanize Institute
  • Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF)

 Institutional Partners:

  • WRI Brazil
  • Democracy and Sustainability Institute (IDS)
  • AVINA Foundation
  • The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
  • Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture
  • WWF Brazil