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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Improved estimates of forest cover and loss in the Brazilian Amazon in 2000–2017

  • Author(s): Qin, Y;
  • Xiao, X;
  • Dong, J;
  • Zhang, Y;
  • Wu, X;
  • Shimabukuro, Y;
  • Arai, E;
  • Biradar, C;
  • Wang, J;
  • Zou, Z;
  • Liu, F;
  • Shi, Z;
  • Doughty, R;
  • Moore, B
  • et al.

The data, information and knowledge on the tropical forest area and its dynamics in the Brazilian Amazon remain contentious. We use time-series satellite images to quantify annual forest area, loss and gain in the Brazilian Amazon during 2000–2017. We find that forest area was ~15% higher than the estimate by the official Brazilian forest dataset (PRODES), but annual forest-loss rates were twice the PRODES estimates (~0.027 × 106 km2 yr–1 during 2001–2016). Forest-loss rates increased again after 2013. The El Niño and drought year (2015/2016) drove large forest area loss. The cumulative forest-loss area within the protected areas (which include ~50% of forests in the region) was ~11% of the total forest-loss area, which highlights the roles of protected areas in forest conservation.

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