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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


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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