Deforestation and agricultural fires in South-West Pará, Brazil, under political changes from 2014 to 2020.


The increasing deforestation and fires since 2019 raises concerns about the irreversible destruction of the Brazilian Amazon. Our goal was to better understand these changes in south-west Pará across different landtenure and farm systems and between the terms of President Rousseff, Temer, and Bolsonaro. We reconstructed deforestation and fire history using all Landsat and Sentinel-2 observations from 2014 to 2020 and assessed, using quasi-experimental methods, the average treatment effects of each presidency on deforestation and fires across land-tenure and farm types. Deforestation nearly quadrupled to 1,201 km2, particularly during Bolsonaro in undesignated areas and conservation units and on medium-sized farms (p < 0.001). Burning increased to 4,805 km2 and in all tenure types (p < 0.001). The increase was strongest in agrarian settlements and conservation units and on medium and large farms. Our observations show the importance of clarifying land-tenure and restrengthening disincentives of environmental infractions, which have been weakened specifically under President Bolsonaro..

Journal of Land Use Science 18(1), 176-195