How is deforestation in the Amazon monitored?

Since 1988, deforestation data in the Amazon have been freely available on the website of the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas Espaciais [National Institute of Space Research] (INPE), linked to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation. Two systems are used to monitor deforestation: Real-Time System for Detection of Deforestation (DETER) and the Program to Calculate Deforestation in the Amazon (PRODES), both from INPE.

How does DETER work?

Since 2004, DETER allows searching for deforestation alerts by city, protected areas and indigenous lands, and operational bases in Google Earth’s shapefile* and Kmz* formats.

Access the data in shapefile format through the link:

This system sends daily alerts on deforestation to the control and inspection agencies.

DETER releases data reports to the general public on a monthly or bimonthly basis, but Ibama receives them daily. The images used are from the Terra satellite’s MODIS sensor and have a spatial resolution of 250 meters. DETER records clear-cutting (complete removal of native forest) and areas of progressive degradation.

DETER images are influenced by cloud cover, which may make it impossible to identify all deforestation. Thus, the analyses of a deforested area should always take into account the cloud coverage during the reference month.

How does PRODES work?

PRODES also monitors the Brazilian Amazonian forest by satellite, but with higher resolution images than DETER (spatial resolution of 30 meters). This project provides the Legal Amazon* annual deforestation rates since 1988.

The images used are from the LANDSAT satellite, which detects only clearcut logging of more than 6.25 hectares.

PRODES data are released annually, and August is the reference month.

Deforestation in the Legal Amazon in 2010 = 1,000,000 x

You can see the PRODES methodology and annual fees at

What is the role of geoprocessing in mapping deforestation?

IPAM uses deforestation data to develop different activities, from unique maps to more robust analyses that support projects and policies to combat deforestation in states, cities, settlements and protected areas and indigenous lands. Some examples of maps and studies that IPAM develops based on deforestation data are as follows.

Deforestation data can also be assessed by city. IPAM has been using this deforestation evolution data from cities in the Amazon area to evaluate deforestation decrease in critical cities.

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