Mostly Illegal, deforestation in the Cerrado follows an alarming pace

Mostly Illegal, deforestation in the Cerrado follows an alarming pace

Map showing the concentration of deforestation between August 2018 and July 2019
Concentration of deforestation
between August 2018 and July 2019

Data from the National Institute of Spatial Research (INPE) points to a 6% drop in deforestation of Cerrado areas in Mato Grosso between July 2018 and August 2019, in relation to the last survey.

The result, however, is far from the requirement for the State to achieve one of the main goals taken on during the Paris Climate Conference, in 2015: reducing the annual rate of deforestation in the biome to 150 Km2 by 2030.

“The rate of destruction of the Cerrado remains alarming,” affirms a section of the report titled ‘Characteristics of deforestation in the Mato Grosso Cerrado in 2019,’ released on Thursday (the 6th) by the Instituto Centro de Vida (ICV).

>> Download full report

The main reason, according to the document, is the elevated degree of illegality in the opening of new areas, which in the period represented 88% of all clear-cuttings registered by INPE.

“Of the total deforestation mapped in 2019, only 12% was undertaken in areas with valid authorizations to deforest or suppress vegetation, issued by the state environmental agency,” says the study.

Of the 88 state municipalities with areas deforested in the Cerrado in the period analyzed, only 19 presented some area with legal deforestation; that is to say, they possessed valid authorizations issued by the environmental agency. “All the remaining municipalities had 100% illegal deforestation.”


With an area that corresponds to 24% of the national territory, the Cerrado is distributed among 12 Brazilian states. Between 2018 and 2019, according to INPE, deforestation cleared 6,483.4 Km2 of the biome on a national scale – equivalent to four times the area of the city of São Paulo (SP).

Of this total, Mato Grosso contributed 930.6 Km2 (14%), placing it in third place in the national ranking, after Maranhão and Tocantins. In the last survey, which considered the period from August 2017 to July 2018, the clearings totaled 998 km2.

According to the ICV report, a significant part (46%) of these new areas are concentrated in ten municipalities in the south-central and northeast regions of the State.

Cocalinho, in the Araguaia region, lead the state ranking with 82 km2 of deforestation in the period. The list also includes the municiplalities of Rosário Oeste, Ribeirão Cascalheira, Paranatinga, São Félix do Araguaia, Campos de Júlio, Nova Nazaré, Nova Mutum, Poconé and Juína.


Map showing the distribution of deforestation in the Cerrado by land category
Distribution of deforestation in the Cerrado by land category

According to ICV, the land profile analysis of the areas where deforestation occurred indicates that the process occurred mostly in properties registered in the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR). Alone, they accounted for 63% of the deforestation registered during the period.

When considering only illegal cuttings, the analysis reveals that they were concentrated in large properties, with more than 1,500 hectares (64%).

In relation to the extent of the deforestation identified in private properties, 72% of the total deforested are polygons larger than 50 hectares.

Additionally, the report shows that 61% of the non-authorized cuttings were concentrated in 883 properties, which is equivalent to only 3% of all existing rural properties in the Mato Grosso Cerrado.