MapBiomas Alert points out that 95% of the deforestation detected in the country in 2019 was not authorized

The system launched this Friday morning allows fast and effective monitoring and accountability of deforestation of Brazilian biomes

Brasilia (DF), June 7th, 2019 - Shortly after three months, an area of 89,741 hectares in Brazil, equivalent to two and a half times the city of Belo Horizonte, capital of Minas Gerais, was detected for deforestation. Of that total, 95% of the deforested territory did not have an authorization registered in the federal and state licensing systems, according to the project MapBiomas Alert. “This vast extent of native vegetation was not authorized and has a high chance of having occurred illegally,” observed Tasso Azevedo, coordinator of MapBiomas Alert, a system of validation and refinement of the deforestation alerts that comprise all of the Brazilian biomes and that in only six months has registered 4,577 alerts.

This tool was officially launched this Friday (June 7th) in Brasilia and is available online for free and for the public to subsidize environmental monitoring and the actions to prevent and combat illegal deforestation. With detailed and valid information, the alerts generated by the system can be used by the agencies responsible for the surveillance and protection of environmental areas with a greater effectiveness and speed to curb illegal deforestation and diminish impunity for environmental crimes.

With this tool, it is possible to detect that 40% of the validated alerts in the first trimester of 2019 occured in areas that could not have been deforested, such as conservation areas, indigenous lands, areas of permanent preservation, and springs.

The vast majority of the alerts occurred in the Cerrado (53% of the total) and in the Amazon (30% of the total), which together represent 2,989 alerts. The numbers for the Amazon will probably continue growing once the majority of the outstanding alerts, which are in that region, complete the validation and refinement process. The states that deforested the most were Mato Grosso (10.3% of the total area) and Pará (with 5.8% of the total area). “What is striking is that all of the states had records of deforestation during the periods analyzed by MapBiomas Alert,” observed Marcos Rosa, coordinator of the Atlantic Forest and Pantanal teams in the project.


How does this tool work

For each validated alert, MapBiomas Alert provides high-resolution images of the before and after the deforestation. The alert is delimited in a precise way, including the dates of the images, and for each one of them it is possible to generate online in a few seconds a complete report with the images and cross-checks with the areas of the Rural Environmental Registry (CAR), National Registry of Conservation Units (CNUC), indigenous territories, and other geographical limits (biomes, states, watersheds). They also provide the data to manage the authorizations and suppression of vegetation of the National System for the Control of the Origin of Forest Products (SINAFLOR/IBAMA) and recent history (2012 to 2017) in Brazil’s annual land cover and land use maps. Meaning that it is possible to obtain information of deforestation quickly, regardless of the actions being in a private property or protected area and if it was authorized.  

MapBiomas Alert enhances the use and the effectiveness of the alerts generated in Brazil, therefore, it cannot be classified as one more system to monitor deforestation.

The system results from consultations with government agencies that use systems of deforestation alerts - like the Ministry of the Environment (MMA), IBAMA, the Brazilian Forest Service (SFB), the Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation (ICMBio), the Federal Public Ministry (MPF), and the Federal Court of Accounts (TCU) - and with the providers of alerts, such as the National Institute for Space Research (INPE), Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (IMAZON), University of Maryland, Center for the Management and Operation of the Amazon Protection System (CENSIPAM), and the ISA (Social-Environmental Institute). The data produced is public, for free, and can be accessed in the platform:


MapBiomas Alert Method

Every month, all of the alerts generated in Brazil are collected for the four main systems of deforestation detection in operation: DETER/INPE (Amazon and Cerrado), SAD/IMAZON (Amazon), SIPAMSAR/Ministry of Defense (Amazon), and GLAD/University of Maryland (other biomes).

The alerts are evaluated to exclude false positives (example: harvesting areas of planted forests) and then forwarded for a supervised classification of the images, based on the Planet images of the constellation of satellites of 3 m resolution and daily frequency. The process is done in the cloud with machine learning algorithms through the Google Earth Engine platform.

To validate and refine the alerts, teams of programmers, specialists on remote sensing, and specialists on conservation and land use are organized into teams for each biome and support for technology and systems.

The alerts can be viewed on different base maps, like in images from Google Earth’s satellites, roadmaps, and annual maps of coverage and land use of Brazil between 1985 and 2017 from MapBiomas (Collection 3.1).


What is MapBiomas

The project of Annual Land Cover and Land Use Mapping of Brazil (MapBiomas) was created in 2015 with the objective of contributing to the understanding of the land use in Brazil and other tropical countries.

Since 2015, it has developed a fast, reliable, and low-cost method to generate annual maps of land cover and land use of Brazil, starting in 1985 to present day.

MapBiomas is an initiative of the SEEG/OC (System of Estimates of Greenhouse Gas Emissions of the Climate Observatory) and is produced by a collaborative network of co-creators formed by NGOs, universities, and technology companies.


Biomes Coordination:

  • Amazon - Amazon Institute of People and the Environment (IMAZON)
  • Caatinga - State University of Feira de Santana (UEFS), Association of Northeastern Plants (APNE), and Geodatin
  • Cerrado - Amazon Environmental Research Institute (IPAM)
  • Atlantic Forest - SOS Atlantic Forest Foundation and ArcPlan
  • Pampa - Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)
  • Pantanal - SOS Pantanal Institute and ArcPlan


Cross-cutting Themes Coordination:

  • Pasture - Federal University of Goiás (LAPIG/UFG)
  • Agriculture - Agrosatellite
  • Coastal Zone - Institute of Technology Vale / Solved
  • Urban Areas - Terras App


Technology Partners:

  • Google
  • EcoStage
  • Terras App



  • Norway’s International Climate and Forest Initiative (NICFI)
  • Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation
  • Arapyaú Institute
  • Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA)
  • Good Energies Foundation
  • Institute for Climate and Society(ICS)
  • Humanize Institute
  • Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF)


Institutional Partners:

  • WRI Brazil
  • Democracy and Sustainability Institute (IDS)
  • AVINA Foundation
  • The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
  • Brazilian Coalition on Climate, Forests and Agriculture
  • WWF Brazil