Record Rates of Deforestation in Brazilian Amazon

A recent TIME article sheds light on the rapid deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon in the first six months of 2022. From satellite imagery, scientists have discovered 1,500 square miles of forest lost between January and June of this year. This deforestation rate breaks all existing records and therefore is uniquely alarming.

The article highlights Brazilian election cycles as one factor for the accelerated deforestation – it is an election year in Brazil, and enforcement for illegal deforestation tends to be lower during election years. But the deforestation is still concerning, especially given that it is taking place largely in remote regions such as Amazonas, which have so far been relatively safe from large-scale deforestation. What’s more, the first six months of the year make up the rainy season in Brazil, which is typically associated with lower deforestation rates. This raises concerns about forest loss that may occur over the next six months, during what is typically the season of more rapid deforestation.

TREE Research Associate, Pamela Montero Alvarez, is a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida, focusing on Tropical Conservation. She writes in response to the TIME article and deforestation news: 

The rates of deforestation in the entire Amazon basin are staggering. Thus, in the Brazilian Amazon in the first half of 2022, deforestation rates were more significant than in the same period in 2018. These patterns remain the same in the Amazon countries, such as Peru. Moreover, reports of deforestation continue to increase; in 2014, the Ministry of Environment of Peru registered the highest annual forest loss since 2000 (177,500 hectares, or 438,600 acres per year) (Source: Interactive Map | MAAP (maaproject.org)

The TREE Foundation aims to protect the forest in the world through research, conservation of species, and providing additional sustainable incomes for indigenous communities. Thus, MISSION GREEN is currently designing a project in the Peruvian Amazon involving strengthening the most extensive canopy walkway in Peru, a training program for girls and women in science, and training modules to enhance capacities in tourism development. This project will be possible through solid collaborations and participatory management. In this sense, The TREE Foundation, via MISSION GREEN, represents an ambitious initiative to promote global tree conservation, incorporating sustainable economic opportunities for local indigenous people and continuous research and education. Furthermore, we aim to stop worldwide deforestation and protect our planet’s biodiversity. Consequently, the role of interdisciplinary projects is to catalyze a diverse set of actors towards a common goal. It is a challenging process with long-term and sustainable results. The project aims to respond to the high deforestation rates in the Amazon and, at the same time, provide local communities with tools and strategies to respond to the diverse and aggressive threats they encounter.


Pamela Montero Alvarez is a Peruvian biologist, currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Florida with a concentration on Tropical Conservation and Development; Diploma in High Amazonian Studies from the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru (PUCP); and B.S. in Biological Sciences from the National University of the Peruvian Amazon (UNAP). Her research interests include relationships between conservation and tourism, social capital, protected area conservation strategies linked to sustainable development, and community-based tourism.