Pervasive Rise of Small-scale Deforestation in Amazonia

Michelle Kalamandeen, Emanuel Gloor, Edward Mitchard, Duncan J. Quincey, Guy Ziv, Dominick Spracklen, Benedict Spracklen, Marcos Adami, Luiz E. O. C. Aragao, David Galbraith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Understanding forest loss patterns in Amazonia, the Earth’s largest rainforest region, is critical for effective forest conservation and management. Following the most detailed analysis to date, spanning the entire Amazon and extending over a 14-year period (2001–2014), we reveal significant shifts in deforestation dynamics of Amazonian forests. Firstly, hotspots of Amazonian forest loss are moving away from the southern Brazilian Amazon to Peru and Bolivia. Secondly, while the number of new large forest clearings (>50 ha) has declined significantly over time (46%), the number of new small clearings (<1 ha) increased by 34% between 2001–2007 and 2008–2014. Thirdly, we find that small-scale low-density forest loss expanded markedly in geographical extent during 2008–2014. This shift presents an important and alarming new challenge for forest conservation, despite reductions in overall deforestation rates.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1600
JournalScientific Reports
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jan 2018

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