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Environment Amazonas has an area equivalent to 18 thousand soccer fields with unauthorized logging

A study conducted by Rede Simex points to exploitation in an area equivalent to 18 thousand soccer fields in Amazonas (Reproduction/Tayane Carvalho)

Gabriella Lira – from Cenarium

MANAUS – An unprecedented survey conducted by the Logging Monitoring System (Simex), published on Friday, 18, indicated an area of more than 71 thousand hectares, in Amazonas, with unauthorized logging by environmental agencies. The data from the state were identified between October and November 2020 until June 2021 and show that, in just one year, the area of exploitation is equivalent to 18 thousand soccer fields.

The survey was conducted by the Simex Network, integrated by four environmental research organizations: Institute of Man and Environment of the Amazon (Imazon), Institute for Conservation and Sustainable Development of Amazonas (Idesam), Institute of Forest and Agricultural Management and Certification (Imaflora) and Center of Life Institute (ICV).

In the evaluated period, 71,091 hectares of forest were exploited in Amazonas territories, 18,992 hectares of which in non-permitted locations, such as indigenous lands, where timber exploitation corresponds to 9,576 hectares, and fully protected conservation areas.

In a ranking of indigenous territories exploited in Amazonas, 66% of all extraction occurred only in Tenharim Marmelos, located in the south of the state and crossed by the Transamazon highway, with 6,330 hectares. In second, Sepoti with 2,149 hectares (22.4%); Kaxarari with 591 hectares (6.2%); Tenharim Marmelos (Gleba B) with 460 hectares (4.8%); Jacareúba/Katauixi with 43 hectares (0.5%) and Rio Manicoré with 3 hectares (0.03%).

Ranking of indigenous lands exploited in Amazonas (Art: Ygor Fabio Barbosa)

Idesam researcher Tayane Carvalho pointed out some of the reasons that lead to the high number of unauthorized logging operations on indigenous lands.

“An important factor to highlight this number on indigenous lands is the absence of inspection. It is necessary that the environmental agencies are active in all the regions of the Amazon, especially in the interior of the States; this is the only way to guarantee that these lands are not invaded or exploited. It is the indigenous people’ right to have their lands guaranteed and it is the State’s duty to protect them”, warns the researcher.

Data

The survey relies on images from the Landsat and Sentinel 2 satellites, which are obtained from the Google Earth Engine environmental monitoring platform. During the research, the lack of access to public data prevented the analysis of the legality of the exploited areas and the evaluation of the severity of the problem.

“We requested some documents from the environmental agency responsible for licensing the Forest Management Plans, the Ipaam [Amazon Environmental Protection Institute], but we did not get any response. Our intention was to make a deeper analysis of the legality of these explorations, but for this we needed to have in hand the exact location of the areas that had a license to extract wood in the period evaluated”, further explained Tayane.

“Thus, we identified illegal logging only in areas that are totally prohibited by law from being exploited, such as fully protected Conservation Units and Indigenous Lands, which together totaled 18,992 ha exploited in the State of Amazonas”, she also said.

Illegal logging in the Amazon (Reproduction/Tayane Carvalho)

Municipalities

In relation to the municipalities, the survey also shows that the Southern Amazon region was the most affected. The area has been impacted by the advance of a new agricultural frontier in the Amazon, with forests being targeted for deforestation and forest degradation. The states monitored by Simex are Amazonas, Mato Grosso, Pará, Rondônia, Roraima, Acre and Amapá.

“It was the first time we did this complete mapping for Amazonas. But we were surprised by the total area logged in the state, which placed it in second place in the ranking of the states in relation to the total area of logging in the Amazon”, said the researcher.

The Logging Monitoring System (Simex) is a tool developed by Imazon in 2008 to evaluate Forest Management Plans and map areas subjected to logging in the region. In 2020, with the objective of expanding the Simex performance in the Amazon States, the Simex Network was constituted.

Check out the research in full.