New Journal Article Shows No Recent Change in Brazil Amazon Deforestation Rate, Contrary to Media Narrative

Published Sep 7, 2018

In 2013, an article on deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon by Doug Boucher, Scientific Advisor with the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), was published in the peer-reviewed journal Tropical Conservation Science. This same journal recently published an update by Boucher and co-author Dora Chi on what has changed over the past five years, both in terms of the deforestation rate and how the international print media has covered the trend over time.

According to the new article:

  • Data shows that the overall deforestation rate has not changed in the last five years, which is quite surprising given the political turmoil experienced in the country during that same timeframe.
  • Although deforestation rates held steady, narratives by international print media often painted a picture that while deforestation had fallen in earlier years, it was once again rising.

“Both the lack of change in the rate of deforestation and the miscommunication of its stability in the media are notable phenomena,” said Boucher. “But there’s also a third event worth noting, and that’s the fact that deforestation hasn’t dropped to zero, as it would have if earlier trends had continued. This is a major failure in terms of reigning in global warming emissions, also showing how Brazil’s political turbulence has had important consequences for the global environment.”

Click here to view a more detailed blog from Boucher on this article.