A more detailed analysis of land occupation and land use in the country, produced by MapBiomas, shows that 66.3% of native vegetation is already degraded.

The growth of the area occupied by agricultural and livestock activities between 1985 and 2020 was 44.6% in Brazil. Together, agriculture and livestock gained 85 million hectares in the period. These activities grew in five of the six Brazilian biomes, with the exception of the Atlantic Forest. These are some of the results from Collection 6 of MapBiomas, released this Friday, August 27th

Collection 6 brings innovations in the study of land use and land cover in the Brazilian territory. Satellite images with surface reflectance were used - a new tool that helps to have more accuracy in the data, to analyze images individually. The new monitoring also includes new Agriculture classes: rice, coffee, and citrus; providing better detail on the type of crops employed on the land. 

Collection 6 shows that over the past 36 years, the area planted with soy and sugarcane has reached the same extent as all grassland formations in Brazil. To give you an idea, soybean crops equal the size of the state of Maranhão, and sugarcane occupies twice the area of urbanized land in the country. The main land use in Brazil continues to be forests: 59.7%. However, this percentage is mostly concentrated in the Amazon region. In other words, excluding the Amazon, the picture of Brazil is quite different. In the Pampa, only 12.5% of the territory is forested. Nearly half (47.8%) is occupied by agriculture and livestock. In the Atlantic Forest, the area dedicated to agriculture and livestock is even larger, occupying two-thirds (66.7%) of the biome. The Cerrado (45%) and Caatinga (37.4%) have the third and fourth highest occupation by agricultural activities. 

 The study shows, in a more detailed analysis of land occupation and use in Brazil, that the 66.3% of native vegetation does not necessarily correspond to preserved areas. "A portion of this native vegetation is already degraded or has been deforested and is in regeneration. Qualifying the degree of degradation is one of the current focuses of MapBiomas," comments Tasso Azevedo, general coordinator of MapBiomas. Of the 27 federative states, 24 lost native vegetation. The champions are Rondônia (-28%), Mato Grosso (-24%), and Maranhão (-16%).  

On the other hand, indigenous territories that have already been demarcated or are awaiting demarcation have preserved their original characteristics the most. Less than 1% of deforestation in Brazil between 1985 and 2020 occurred in indigenous lands. "If we want to have rain to supply the reservoirs that provide energy and drinking water for consumers, industry, and agribusiness, we need to preserve the Amazon rainforest. And satellite images leave no doubt: it's the indigenous people who do this," concludes Tasso. 

About MapBiomas: iniciativa multi-institucional, que envolve universidades, ONGs e empresas de tecnologia, focada em monitorar as transformações na cobertura e no uso da terra no Brasil. Esta plataforma é hoje a mais completa, atualizada e detalhada base de dados espaciais de uso da terra em um país disponível no mundo. Todos os dados, mapas, método e códigos do MapBiomas são disponibilizados de forma pública e gratuita no site da iniciativa: mapbiomas.org.

Access the main results of MapBiomas Water in the Fact Sheet.

Download the infographics here:

Find out how the launch of Collection 6 went