You are here

Human Pressure on the Brazilian Amazon Forests

The analysis compiles a comprehensive set of geospatial indicators of human activities that lead to forest degradation and conversion. Illustrated by numerous maps, the results provide valuable insights for land-use planning and zoning.

Executive Summary

This analysis compiles a comprehensive set of geospatial indicators of human activities that lead to forest degradation and conversion. Illustrated by numerous maps, the results provide valuable insights for land-use planning and zoning.

In 2002, approximately 47 percent of the Brazilian Amazon was under some type of human pressure, either as areas under pressure from human settlements (19 percent) or areas subjected to incipient human pressure (28 percent). Note: These numbers have since increased. Please see this report's press release for the latest estimates.

Areas under pressure from human settlement were found primarily along official roads in the so-called "arc of deforestation," comprising the eastern and southern edges of the forests in the states of Rondônia, Mato Grosso, and Pará. Other significant locations under human pressure were along the Trans-Amazon highway in the State of Pará, along the Amazon River between Manaus and Belém, along the Cuiabá-Santarém highway near the city of Santarém, and around the main urban centers in the states of Roraima and Amapá.

Areas showing incipient human pressure were generally clustered and adjacent to areas of human settlements, indicating frontier expansion. This was especially true in the states of Pará, Mato Grosso, and Rondônia. There were, however, isolated areas of incipient human pressure along navigable rivers throughout the region. Such areas appeared to be associated primarily with traditional mestizo communities and indigenous populations.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our newsletters

Get the latest commentary, upcoming events, publications, maps and data. Sign up for the biweekly WRI Digest.