Satellite Images predict Pantanal in Brazil may vanish in 45 years

Satellite Images predict Pantanal in Brazil may vanish in 45 years

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At an average annual devastation rate of 2.3%, the Pantanal, the world’s largest flood plain in Brazil may be gone in 45 years. This warning appears in the study, “Estimated Natural Area Loss in the Upper Paraguay Basin and the Brazilian Pantanal,” produced by the NGO Conservation International (CI-Brazil), and released recently. CI-Brazil researchers analyzed satellite images to compare the proportions of areas in which native vegetation still exists with those in which it has vanished. The report demonstrates that, through 2004, the original vegetation had disappeared in around 44% of the region under scrutiny. Over half the territory in 59 of the 87 Brazilian municipalities in the Upper Paraguay Basin had suffered devastation, and 12-49% of the territory in the other 28 had been deforested. The situation is critical in the 22 municipalities in which deforestation has affected over 80% of the territory, and the percentage of original vegetation destroyed surpasses 90% in 19 of them. The study also shows that 17% of the Pantanal’s original plant cover has been destroyed.