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October 21, 2005
Amazon Deforestation Twice the Level Previously Reported
A study by Asner, et al, reported in Science yesterday used new satellite reconnaisance techniques to detect smaller, selective cuts in the Amazon forests. The new data indicates that annual cuts are up to twice as large as previously reported. Amazon Stealth Deforestation
Amazon deforestation has been measured by remote sensing for three decades. In comparison, selective logging has been mostly invisible to satellites. We developed a large-scale, high-resolution, automated remote-sensing analysis of selective logging in the top five timber-producing states of the Brazilian Amazon. Logged areas ranged from 12,075 to 19,823 square kilometers per year (±14%) between 1999 and 2002, equivalent to 60 to 123% of previously reported deforestation area. Up to 1200 square kilometers per year of logging were observed on conservation lands. Each year, 27 million to 50 million cubic meters of wood were extracted, and a gross flux of 0.1 billion metric tons of carbon was destined for release to the atmosphere by logging.
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