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Brasil's deforestation drops 11.6 pct in 2023

RIO DE JANEIRO, May 28 (Xinhua) -- Brazil lost 1,829,597 hectares of native vegetation in 2023, a decrease of 11.6 percent in deforestation compared to 2022, monitoring network MapBiomas said on Tuesday.

In its annual deforestation report, MapBiomas said Brazil's two largest biomes, the Amazon and a tropical savanna known as Cerrado, accounted for more than 85 percent of the total deforested area in the South American country.

According to the report, for the first time since MapBiomas began to issue its deforestation alerts in 2019, Cerrado surpassed the Amazon in terms of deforested area.

In 2023, Cerrado accounted for 61 percent of deforestation in Brazil while the Amazon accounted for 25 percent.

In Cerrado, 1,110,326 hectares were deforested in 2023, an increase of 68 percent compared to 2022, mainly due to agricultural encroachment, while in the Amazon, deforestation fell by 62.2 percent in 2023, for a total loss of 454,300 hectares.

While the news of the drop in deforestation is positive, the network warned that deforestation in Brazil is now concentrated in the Matopiba region, which is located in the northeast states of Maranhao, Tocantins, Piaui and Bahia.

MapBiomas is a network of non-governmental organizations, universities and technology companies that monitor changes in land use in Brazil through mapping.