Rapid increase in deforestation in Brazil's Atlantic Forest


Deforestation surged 66% in 2021 in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, compounding fears over the rampant destruction of the Amazon rainforest further north.

The Mata Atlântica, which stretches down Brazil's eastern coast, lost 21,642 ha of forest cover from November 2020 to October 2021, up two-thirds from the year before. The data was published in 2022 report that was based on satellite monitoring.

Green-crowned Plovercrest is one of more than 200 bird species endemic to the Atlantic Forest (Dario Sanches).

Like the Amazon, the less-known Atlantic Forest is a critical buffer against climate change and a key ecosystem. Despite only 28% of native cover remaining, it is extraordinarily lush in biodiversity and endemic species. This includes more than 200 species of bird, such as Grey-winged Cotinga, Three-toed Jacamar, Cherry-throated Tanager, Green-crowned Plovercrest and Buff-throated Purpletuft.

Deforestation surged in Brazil under former President Jair Bolsonaro – since the far-right president took office in 2019, the average annual deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon increased by 75% from the previous decade. It is however hoped that the election of new president Lula, who defeated Bolsonaro the national elections in late 2022, may slow this trend.