Guyra Paraguay: South American Gran Chaco Region suffered a record deforestation of 73,968 hectares during October 2014

The rate of deforestation of the Gran Chaco Region during October 2014, at 73,968 hectares, was the highest monthly figure ever recorded since Guyra Paraguay began monitoring the change of land use in the Chaco in 2010.

The figure was twice that recorded during the previous month of September 2014 (36,746 hectares). This represented a deforestation rate of 2,386 hectares per day, compared with 1,064 hectares per day in September. By way of comparison, the loss of 73,968 hectares of Chaco forest is equivalent to an area six times that of the city of Asunción and more than three times that of the city of Buenos Aires.

Paraguay accounted for the largest share of the 73,968 hectares of woodlands that was converted to agricultural use in October 2014, with 81% of the total deforested area, followed by Argentina with 10% and Bolivia with 9%. In the specific case of Paraguay, the rate of deforestation was 1,932 hectares per day, compared with 250 hectares per day for Argentina, and 204 hectares per day for Bolivia.

The three locations in the Gran Chaco that experienced the greatest changes of land use were as follows: in Paraguay, the district of Mariscal Estigarribia in the Department of Boquerón (28,240 hectares); in Argentina, Patiño in the Province of Formosa (1,457 hectares); and in Bolivia, Pailón in the Department of Santa Cruz (3,052 hectares). The geographical distribution of the deforestation of the Gran Chaco is available, broken down b y municipality.

Through the Modis satellite imaging that monitors waters in the basins and alluvial flood plains, it is possible to discern a notable decrease in the area under water in general terms in October in the combined water systems of the Gran Chaco, which covered a total of 3,073,990 hectares, a significant reduction compared to the 5,524,743 hectares in September 2014.

It is important to note that because these images are made to a spatial resolution of 250 metres, there may well be smaller bodies of water that were not registered.

From 1st to 31th  October  a total of 39,819 heat focuses were identified in the four countries of the Gran Chaco region (Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay), representing a significant increase from the 22,683 heat focuses monitored during September 2014. Some 46% of the total heat focuses were detected in Argentina and 44% in Paraguay.

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