Brazil continues to destroy its natural rainforest at alarming rates

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According to the latest MapBiomas survey, the Cerrado surpassed the Amazon as Brazil’s most deforested biome in 2023, following the damages detected in the region known as Matopiba. This region includes Maranhão, Tocantins, Piauí, and Bahia, totalling 1,110,326 hectares destroyed, a 68% increase from 2022.

When combined, Amazon and Cerrado account for more than 85% of the deforested area, while Cerrado alone represents 61%. The latest report showed that the Matopiba region accounted for 47% of all the loss of native vegetation in Brazil last year and for three out of every four hectares deforested in the Cerrado in 2023. It was also explained that two-thirds of Brazil’s fifty municipalities with the most deforestation in 2023 are in the Cerrado.

Of the four Matopiba states, only Piauí saw a reduction in deforestation. Maranhão moved from fifth to first place in the deforestation ranking for the first time, with an increase of 95.1% compared to 2022. Bahia is in second place, followed by Tocantins, which had the most significant increase compared to last year.

The MapBiomas research found that 97% of the country’s deforestation (1,829,597 hectares) was driven by agricultural expansion. Despite this, Brazil recorded an 11.6% drop in total surface deforestation in 2023.

“The data shows Brazil’s first drop in deforestation since 2019, when the report was first published. On the other hand, the face of deforestation is changing in Brazil, concentrating in biomes where savannah and grassland formations predominate and reducing in forest formations,” MapBiomas Coordinator Tasso Azevedo said.

Brazil loses a quarter of its natural forests in nearly 40 years

In the Amazon, 1,245 hectares were lost daily at a pace of eight trees per second.

Often in the shadow of the Amazon, the Cerrado is a vast savanna that once covered 2 million square kilometres (larger than Great Britain, France, and Germany combined). It extends east and south of the Amazon.

Despite its size, scientists and environmental activists have long undervalued the Cerrado. However, researchers are beginning to realize its incredible biodiversity, with over 10,000 plant species, more than 900 species of birds, and 300 species of mammals. It is the most biodiverse savanna in the world and plays a crucial role in wildlife conservation. However, deforestation driven by cattle ranching and soybean production threatens its survival.

Please Note: GTSA discourages investors from buying in these controversial regions as they are shunned by most responsible farming enterprises and prove hard to sell if developed.


Contact the Gateway to South America team to learn about the best investment opportunities in the region. The company is a benchmark for foreign investors wishing to invest in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay, providing expert advice on property acquisition and investment tours.

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