The extent of deforestation can be fairly well assessed using satellite images. However, other degradations that affect a forest without destroying it, such as occasional tree felling, fire or drought, are much more difficult to monitor. One of the few ways to assess them is based on the L-VOD satellite vegetation index developed by INRAE, CEA and CNRS researchers. Using this index and a new deforestation monitoring technique developed by the University of Oklahoma, the study assessed the evolution of carbon storage in the Brazilian Amazon forest between 2010 and 2019.
The results show a historical trend reversal for the Brazilian forest. During the period 2010-2019, carbon losses from the Brazilian Amazon forest exceeded gains, by about 18%. The Brazilian Amazon forest lost biomass, and therefore released carbon. These carbon losses are due to deforestation but also forest degradation related to droughts favored by global warming, as for example during the El Niño episode of 2015.
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