Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon up 15%

August 18, 2011
Aerial view of a burnt out sector of the Jamanxim National Forest in the Amazon state of Para, nothern Brazil. Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon increased by 15 percent during the past 12 months, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said.

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon increased by 15 percent during the past 12 months, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said.

From July 2010 to July 2011 the vast South American rainforest lost 2,654 square kilometers (1,649 square miles) of vegetation in the states of Mato Grosso and Para, according to a preliminary analysis of satellite photos.

The year before, 2,295 square kilometers (1,426 square miles) were destroyed over that time period.

This July, 225 square kilometers (139 square miles) were lost to deforestation, though this was significantly less than the 485 square kilometers (301 square miles) destroyed in July 2010.

In April 477 square kilometers (296 square miles) were destroyed, with more than 95 percent of the devastation taking place in Mato Grosso, which is a major agricultural frontier used for cattle ranches and farming.

Graphic showing monthly deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, based on satellite analysis by the National

Wednesday's figures were calculated from a known as DETER, which detects in real time when an area larger than 61 acres is destroyed, though its results are not always exact due to cloud cover.

Brazil, the world's fifth largest country by area, has 5.3 million square kilometers of jungle and forests -- mostly in the basin -- of which only 1.7 million are under state protection.

The rest is in private hands, or its ownership is undefined.

Cattle walks in a burnt area of the Amazon rain forest in 2009. Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon increased by 15 percent during the past 12 months, the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) said Wednesday.

Deforestation has made Brazil one of the world's top emitters, and the pace of deforestation peaked in 2004 at 27,000 square kilometers (10,000 square miles) a year.

The rate of deforestation has declined since then, in part because of DETER, and at the 2009 UN in Copenhagen, Brazil committed itself to reducing Amazon deforestation by 80 percent by 2020.

Explore further: Amazon deforestation on the rise again in Brazil

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1 / 5 (2) Aug 18, 2011
Big deal. If not for mankind PREVENTING forest fires, nature would burn around 50 million acres per year in the U.S. alone.


In fact, if natural forest fires were allowed to burn, the Keeling Curve would be around twice as high as it currently is.

50 million acres of forest for 1910...You got any idea how much CO2 that is if burned to completion, which it very likely was burned to near-completion in a the era before modern firefighting techniques?

Let's say 500 trees per acre, not counting shrubs, and 1 ton per tree, and 50 million acres. That's 25 trillion kilograms of wood. Now burn the wood and you get 47.5 trillion kg CO2 from just U.S. Forest fire in 1910 alone.

That is up to 9.5, NINE POINT FIVE, parts per million equivalent worth of CO2 made by NATURE in 1910, ONE YEAR, from forest fires in the U.S. alone.

Human deforestation is insignificant compared to what nature does.
1 / 5 (1) Aug 18, 2011
So now, we're looking at 4.9 million acres burned each year in the U.S. alone. Well, that's roughly 10% of what NATURE would do if man didn't fight fires, but even still, gives us a CO2 production of around 0.85 PPM CO2 equivalent PER YEAR by NATURE in the U.S. ALONE.

Which is damn near half of the Keeling Curve's net average slope of 2.1...just from the U.S. forest fires alone...

If we weren't fighting NATURE MADE forest fires, the Keeling Curve would have a slope of around 10 (TEN) or more, just from U.S. forest fires!!!

Imagine that! Due to fighting forest fires in the U.S. alone, human beings actually have a net NEGATIVE carbon footprint, and by nearly a damn order of magnitude...
1 / 5 (1) Aug 18, 2011
Ok, I was thinking about this, and realistically, pine trees at maturity are probably more like several hundred trees per acre.

I even found some material on hardwood stands, which suggested 100 to 125 for pole sized, or 50 to 75 for saw timber. However, this is the target for harvestable crop trees, which need to be more idealisticly shaped individually. The actual biomass on the land is and would be more in a 100% natural forest.

Additionally, hardwood trees grow wider crowns, whereas pine trees tend to grow much taller, so you can fit more pines in the same area.


This site recommends planting pine trees for LUMBER in 300 per acre, which is not too much different than my guesstimate of 500 per acre. Additionally, some seem to plant them even higher.

The point is, in nature where the trees are not growing to a target lumber value per individual tree, they may be denser than this.

Good guess...
5 / 5 (1) Aug 18, 2011
Hate to break you the news, Nb, but without human intervention, forest burnoff would occur in a state of dynamic balance, regulated by a complex interplay of biological, physical, and climatic factors.

What they are speaking of here -specifically- is primarily HUMAN INTERVENTION(though why this is not made explicit in the article is a mystery), which you propose as the great and noble defender of the Forest, when, in fact, it is usually just the opposite, and has been -both historically AND prehistorically -during the aricultural and industrial phases of human development- overwhelmingly the direct cause of steady forest loss, the whole world over.

It's interesting to see you tinkering with some of the numbers involved, but alas -you fail to see "the Forest for the trees" as they say.

I hope that this isn't intentional.

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