Sun. Feb 28th, 2021

The Amazon basin lost more than 2 million hectares of primary forest cover in 2020, according to a new satellite data analysis released today. The authors say this likely eclipses loss in 2019 when 1.7 million hectares was deforested – and is likely even a conservative estimate, meaning that the actual area of forest lost may be larger still. The analysis was produced by researchers Matt Finer and Sidney Novoa at the Monitoring of the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP), an initiative of a U.S.-based Amazon Conservation and Peru-based Conservación Amazónica along with partners ACEAA in Bolivia and EcoCiencia in Ecuador. Image by MAAP. The data MAAP used for their analysis came from the Global Land Analysis and Discovery (GLAD) lab at the University of Maryland (UMD), which compiles preliminary satellite data on tree cover changes in the tropical parts of the world and updates frequently. While GLAD data are subject to change after UMD crunches the dataset more thoroughly later this year, MAAP’s estimate for Amazon primary forest loss for 2019 ultimately came out low (1.3 million hectares vs. the final tally of 1.7 million) “indicating that if anything the alerts may be conservative,” Finer said. In other words, the Amazon may have lost significantly more than 2 million hectares of primary forest last year. But even at 2 million, 2020 was likely a banner year for deforestation. “Across the Amazon, even though 2019 made more graphic headlines with the fires, our early estimates indicate that 2020 was actually worse in terms of both deforestation and…This article was originally published on Mongabay
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