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Posts Tagged ‘Imazon’

Better Land Management in the Amazon? Here’s a New Tool

April 6, 2015 by

A new, computer-based environmental management system was launched last week by the Brazilian nonprofit organization Imazon. Here’s more about it, from Carol Skowron, a Mercy Corps senior program officer:

To Edilberto Poggi, the issue isn’t whether to stop the illegal deforestation of the Amazon and better manage the land resources—the need to do that is clear to him. The real question is how this can be done using the laws already on the books and the resources that are available to him and his colleagues.

Sitting in his office in Dom Eliseu, a municipality in the state of Pará in the Brazilian Amazon, the environmental manager of this small but vibrant town knew that the key was identifying where lumber was being harvested illegally while allowing legal landowners to manage their land within the law.

Poggi had hired a strong team to actively pursue land registration and licensing as required by law. By last August, he had more than 300 requests for environmental licenses for legal use of the land waiting for his team’s attention. Pointing to a mountain of papers, he noted that a large stack of verified information was required for each property, a paperwork nightmare making it impossible to move forward quickly. Poggi and municipal managers like him throughout the state needed a better way to make the system work to effectively manage the land, rather than leaving it open to indiscriminate logging.

Fortunately for Poggi and his colleagues, a new, computer-based environmental management system will greatly speed up the process. Known by the acronym SIGAM, it was launched last week by the Brazilian nonprofit organization Imazon.

Read the rest of Carol’s blog:

And learn more from the press release:



Google Earth’s 6 New Projects—and Imazon—in New York Times

January 9, 2015 by

Imazon is featured in today’s New York Times in a story called “Mapping the World’s Problems.” Here’s an excerpt:

Nearly a decade ago, an environmental group in Brazil grew concerned that government data and maps about Amazon deforestation were out of date and hard to view. The group, Imazon, decided to create its own monitoring tools, using information from satellites. Imazon’s efforts caught the attention of Google, the search engine giant. Now, monthly reports on the Brazilian Amazon are produced through Google Earth Engine, a technology platform within the company.

Future projects include mapping the locations of fishing vessels, which can help detect illegal fishing; tracing the spread of malaria; showing sea-ice melt; and depicting fires, such as the flaring of natural gas from North Dakota’s shale fields. The European Union’s Joint Research Center, working with Google Earth Engine, presented a paper last month on mapping the planet’s permanent and seasonal water sources. Other projects, to be presented at the United Nations’ conference in Japan this March on disaster risk reduction, include a tool that will help model and map rising sea levels as they affect areas that differ in elevation.

Read the rest:


Investigation Shows Massive Laundering of Illegal Timber

October 17, 2014 by

Brazil is laundering illegal timber on a ‘massive and growing scale,’ according to a new Greenpeace investigation published in The Guardian and other media. Skoll Awardee Imazon’s data was used as part of the evidence. An excerpt from The Guardian, which said that illegally logged timber is being sold on to buyers in the UK, US, Europe and China:

“Estimates of the scale of the problem are based on satellite date analysis by Imazon. Using publicly available images, the organisation traces the degree of degradation of key areas in the Amazon, estimates the amount of timber felled in unauthorised areas and then compares this with official figures for timber sales. According to Paulo Barreto of Imazon, the situation is rapidly getting worse. He says the area illegally logged increased by 151% in Pará and by 63% in Mato Grosso between 2011 and 2012. Greenpeace says this data and the findings of their investigation point to alarming gaps in the government’s control system.”

Read the details and see maps:

Earlier this month, Adalberto Verissimo of Imazon was quoted in the New York Times story, “Clashing Visions of Conservation Shake Brazil’s Presidential Vote”:

Adalberto Veríssimo, a researcher at Imazon, a Brazilian institute that uses satellite imagery to track deforestation, said he expected the deforestation rate to climb about 5 percent from 2013 to 2014.

“We’re witnessing an increase in speculative deforestation and forest destruction for the government’s own infrastructure projects,” Mr. Veríssimo said. “There’s been a rearrangement of priorities, with the Amazon targeted for massive investments. Naturally this opens the way for new deforestation.”




New IPS Amazonia Website Maps Social Progress in the Brazilian Amazon

August 26, 2014 by

We recently shared that conservation of the Brazilian Amazon is threatened by the poor social conditions of its people. That’s the summary of the Social Progress Index for the Brazilian Amazon, published by the Brazilian nonprofit Imazon in partnership with the global nonprofit Social Progress Imperative.

The report measured the social progress of the people living within 772 municipalities and nine states of the Brazilian Amazon. It found that people living there face huge challenges in almost every measure of social progress.

The Social Progress Index built for the Brazilian Amazon combined globally relevant indicators, such as maternal mortality rates, access to piped water, and secondary school enrolment, with customized indicators adapted to the local context, such as deforestation rates, malaria incidence, child and teenage pregnancies, and violence against indigenous people.

This news has been covered by dozens of publications, from Thomson Reuters to the Global Post to Globo. 

Now, the new IPS Amazonia data web site is online, complete with interactive maps and scorecards for each of 772 municipalities across 43 indicators. It shows very clearly that economic development and social progress are not the same.

Learn more at


Deforestation Rates Down August to November 2013

December 19, 2013 by

We’re happy to share this report from Imazon, which notes that deforestation rates are way down in the second half of the year. Here’s an excerpt from the report, which was covered in Globo:

“A survey done by an organization that strives to preserve the Amazon shows that in the last four months, there was a decrease in deforestation.

Imazon analyzed images from satellites that recorded the degradation of the Amazon rainforest between August and November 2013. Last year during the same period, 1,200 square kilometers were deforested. In 2013, it fell to 368 square kilometers.

According Imazon, deforestation fell because of increased surveillance and not just thanks to field operations, as well as technological advances. Illegal loggers were fleeing the reach of the satellites, just at the time of the Amazonian summer, when the cloud cover is smaller, and deforestation easier to detect.

‘Such monitoring is getting more intense and sophisticated . The only way to escape this surveillance is to try clearing during the rainy season, when you have more clouds, and satellites have trouble capturing and detecting deforestation,’ says Imazon Sr Researcher, Adalberto Verissimo.”

Read the rest:


Imazon’s Deforestation Work Featured in The Economist

September 16, 2013 by

There’s an excellent section of this week’s Economist on biodiversity, with one of main articles focused on  Brazil and the Amazon, featuring Skoll Awardee Imazon. An excerpt:

“When Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva became president in 2003, his government, under pressure from public opinion and foreigners, turned against deforestation. From 2003 his environment minister, Marina Silva, started giving greater protection to land in the Amazon and beefed up the federal environmental police, the Ibama. Centres of illegal logging, such as Paragominas, were put on a blacklist.

Ms Silva was greatly helped by a combination of remote sensing and a Brazilian NGO, Imazon. Brazil’s space agency published figures on deforestation, but only on an annual basis, nearly a year in retrospect and without a map, so nobody knew exactly where the trees were coming down. Beto Verissimo, who founded Imazon to use science for the benefit of the rainforest, realised that NASA’s Modis satellite collected data that could be published monthly and would also show were the damage was being done. In 2007 Imazon started processing NASA’s data and publishing them within a few weeks of being collected.”

Read the rest:


How Better Trained Farmers are Slowing Brazil’s Deforestation

June 17, 2013 by

Today we are cross-posting a blog by Daniel Jensen of Mercy Corps’ Global Envision, focusing on our partnership with Mercy Corps and USAID. Here it is:

In Para, Brazil, farmers are turning a profit and the government is on track to slow deforestation thanks to local nonprofit Imazon, which got them to work together.

By 2003, Brazil was on the verge of an environmental catastrophe. As its economy expanded, cattle ranchers needed more land to graze their livestock, and few laws prevented them from burning down thousands of square kilometers of untitled land in the Amazon, causing vast environmental damage. In the worst regions, like Para, widespread poverty meant that stopping deforestation was at the bottom of the government’s list, despite massive efforts by groups like Greenpeace and Imazon.

A wave of environmental laws passed by the federal government from 2004 to 2008 seemed to complicate things for local governments and economies, even as deforestation rates fell. Many municipal governments couldn’t fully meet government targets under the new regulations but faced economic sanctions if they didn’t. A beef embargo prevented farmers from selling their meat to mainstream supermarket chains like Carrefour and Walmart if their municipality ended up on a blacklist for failing to reduce illegal deforestation to government-mandated levels. The government confiscated herds and sawmills from the law’s offenders. When Paragominas, a municipality in Para where Imazon worked, was placed on the list, 2,300 jobs and all the municipality’s federal agricultural credits disappeared within a year. read more


David Rothschild’s Trip to Brazil: Seeing Deforestation Solutions Firsthand

June 12, 2013 by

I just returned from Brazil, where I visited partners in the Amazon states of Para and Mato Grosso.  Before I get into the nitty-gritty, let me reflect on the big picture regarding the State of Para in Brazil.  Para is clearly undergoing a dramatic and deep transformation.  Only a few years ago, Para was a place I was afraid to travel to, a place where organized crime ruled and assassins were available for hire almost openly.  It was known as the wild west of the Amazon—more so than any other place in the Amazon (the size of the continental US).  Quite a few environmental or human rights activists had been killed or threatened.  This is where in 2005 Sister Dorothy Stang was murdered in cold blood for standing up for the poor.

Today, more than half of the private lands are registered with the state and monitored, and organized crime has less of a stranglehold.  In place of lawlessness and fear, one feels a real sense of pride emerging alongside a booming economy and increased governance.   Para is not like it was in 2005; Para is not like it was 5 years ago.  Para isn’t even like it was one year ago. read more


USAID and Skoll Foundation Announce Joint Investment in Imazon

April 12, 2013 by

Initiative Will Expand Successful Monitoring and Management System to Combat Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon 

Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced today the first breakthrough social enterprise to be supported by the Innovation Investment Alliance—a new Global Development Alliance with the Skoll Foundation.

The organization, Imazon, is a non-profit that uses satellite technology to monitor and track deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. Led by seasoned entrepreneurs, Adalberto Veríssimo and Carlos Souza Jr.—both recognized leaders in rainforest conservation—Imazon also strengthens government efforts to find areas at risk for deforestation within municipalities, and motivate landowners to reduce deforestation.

“The Skoll Foundation has supported Imazon since 2010 because of its leadership in reversing deforestation in places like Paragominas, an area once considered the epicenter of Amazon destruction,” said Sally Osberg, President and CEO of the Skoll Foundation. “With this grant from USAID and the Skoll Foundation’s own investment in the initiative, Imazon will scale their efforts in the Brazilian state of Para, an area three times the size of California.”  read more


New Market Mechanism for Trading Deforestation Compliance in Brazil

December 28, 2012 by

Trading environmental assets could change how farmers and ranchers comply with Brazilian deforestation laws

Today we’re sharing a revolutionary digital tool in the world of deforestation — one of the areas we focus on. Here is  more about it from the Financial Times and MSNBC:

The Financial Times piece highlights ranchers in Paragominas (learn more through our film, “Hanging in the Balance”) —

“Under the Forest Code, if landowners have less than the minimum of forest cover on the their land,  80 per cent in the Amazon region, they must reforest to make up the deficit or buy a credit from another landowner who has more native vegetation than legally required…The potential trade in these credits, officially known as ‘environmental reserve quotas’, or CRAs in Portuguese, is what has got the farmers of Paragominas excited. ‘If we do this, our forests will be protected,’ Mauro Lucio, the cowboy hat-wearing president of the Paragominas farmers union, tells a dinner of local ranchers. ‘They will earn us money and bring good investors into the region.’ read more


New Film Highlights Imazon’s Work

June 27, 2012 by

Google recently finished a five-minute film highlighting Imazon and the Google Earth Engine potential. Imazon and Carlos Souza are shown throughout, and Paragominas is used an example.  The film also showcases the work Red Amazonica de Information Socioambiental Georreferenciada (RAISG) is doing with NGOs throughout the broader Amazon to replicate Imazon’s system (which we supported through our AVINA partnership).



Sally Osberg Tells All: What’s New, What’s on the Horizon with the Skoll Foundation

June 25, 2012 by

President and CEO Sally Osberg sat down with, and spoke from the heart. She talked about her early days with the foundation (she’s the founding CEO!), the “DNA” of Jeff Skoll, and the impact of several Skoll Awardees. (, Partners in Health, Kiva, Root Capital, GoodWeave, Imazon, Ceres and Gram Vikas to name a few).

She answered questions about the foundation’s new collaborative approach to change, how the term “social entrepreneur” has evolved, and so much more (the story is six Internet pages long!) Here’s an excerpt: read more


Imazon’s Work with the State of Para is Paying Off: Read Why

June 15, 2012 by

Imazon’s work with the State of Para is beginning to pay off. Yesterday in Rio de Janeiro, Gov. Simao Jatene announced a target of zero net deforestation for the state of Para by 2020. Historically, Para accounts for about a third of Amazon deforestation. It will be the first state in the Amazon to go beyond the national target of 80 percent for the region. Read more about what we’re doing in Rio right now, and read the official press release, translated loosely into English:

Rio de Janeiro (06/14/12) – The government of Para has taken this Thursday, 14/6, during debate on the Green Cities Program in Rio de Janeiro, which, from 2020, the state will have a zero net deforestation . With the announcement, the state becomes the first goals of the Amazon to be bolder and go beyond providing for the national target (80% by 2020). Changes in the economic base, spatial planning and command and control actions form the tripod on which the government intends to fulfill the commitment they made at Rio +20. read more


Stories of Change Panel Discussion Monday

April 26, 2012 by

On April 30 at 7 p.m. at the David Brower Center in Berkeley, Calif., hear a free panel about village grandmothers becoming solar engineers in India, data technologists in Brazil transforming global rainforest conservation, and former Hollywood producers eradicating mother to child HIV transmission in Africa. Social enterprise organizations like Barefoot College, Imazon and mothers2mothers are creating breakthrough models that can ignite sweeping change for seemingly intractable problems.

They are part of the innovative Sundance Institute | Skoll Foundation ‘Stories of Change’ partnership, which pairs documentary filmmakers with social entrepreneurs to leverage the power of storytelling in their initiatives. Join us as we launch a week-long immersive Stories of Change Impact Lab at Tomorrow Partners. Hear from leading social entrepreneurs, filmmakers and designers about the inflection points they look for to uncover extraordinary opportunities for social impact at scale. How do the innovations we design, the systems we build, and the stories we tell work together to create lasting change?

Join the conversation at this inter-, trans-, multi-disciplinary panel discussion and catch a sneak preview of some upcoming Stories of Change films!

Again it’s free, but RSVP by tomorrow to if you plan to attend. Learn more about the partnership at and the event at


Supercharged Stories of Change: A Sundance Summary

January 30, 2012 by

Sundance, so glitzy on top, is constantly and astonishingly substantive underneath. The best films are often documentaries and the best conversations, at least last week, were about social entrepreneurship not celebrities. Four Skoll awardees – Imazon, Mothers2Mothers, Tostan and – gathered at the festival in Park City, Utah from Monday to Friday for movies and merriment, but most of all for deep analysis of their own story-telling. The question: How can they more powerfully get the word out about their work?

The Stories of Change convening, led by the Sundance Institute and the Skoll Foundation, came to a really productive close on Friday, with all four awardees having significant breakthroughs. Each is at a crucial inflection point: Imazon has helped reduce Amazon deforestation from 60M acres a year ten years ago to 15M a year, and aims for less than 6M by 2020. Mothers2Mothers reaches 20% of HIV+ pregnant women and is poised to eliminate mother to child transmission of HIV in the next three years. Tostan has enabled 6000+ villages in West Africa come together to abandon practices such as female genital cutting (FGC), child marriage and domestic abuse and is set to rid Senegal of FGC. has pioneered the concept of water credit and now is in a position to lead a global movement to ensure that everyone in the world will have access to clean water and sanitation – in our lifetime. read more


Stories of Change Charged Up Sundance’s Main Street

January 25, 2012 by
Watch live streaming video from sundancefest at

Talk about spirited discussion. Stories of Change charged up Main Street, Park City Tuesday afternoon. Led by the Skoll Foundation and the Sundance Institute, the SoC panel discussion  brought social entrepreneurs Joia Mukherjee (Partners in Health) and Bunker Roy (Barefoot College) to the stage, along with the film-makers who are telling their stories. There was a packed house at the Egyptian Theater – and lots of cheers and clapping.

Jeff Skoll, kicking things off, said social entrepreneurs and film-makers are “a potent team that help us have hope.” Their work – in the field, and on screen – can make the difference between a bleak future and a bright one. “Storytelling isn’t just a good idea,” he said, “it’s absolutely critical.”

Joia (featured in a film by Kief Davidson) thanked Sally Osberg ” for teaching me what a social entrepreneur is,” and talked about how PIH now employs 15,000 people, 80 percent of them the rural poor. Bunker (featured in a film by Jehane Noujaim) talked of his dream to have “solar grandmothers from every part of the world. They come as grandmothers and go back like tigers.” One such granny, 55, in Afghanistan, has lit 200 homes.

The crowd – including a great showing of other Skoll awardees: Gary White, Molly Melching, Beto Verissimo and Carlos Souza Jr, and Gene Falk – was rapt, particularly after watching clips from the working cuts of both films. But, at least in this part of Sundance, there was no celebrity worship going on. Sally Osberg, summing up, said: “Social entrepreneurs know the most important characters are the consituents they serve.”


Imazon on Understanding Brazil’s Low 2009 Deforestation Rate

January 13, 2011 by

Imazon Senior Researcher Paulo Barreto discusses the reasons behind the drop in deforestation rates in the Brazilian Amazon in an article in ecoAmazonia. If aggressive new measures Brazil has adopted are correct, why haven’t they succeeded in halting deforestation altogether? And what must still be done to get deforestation under control once and for all?

“Last week, the federal government announced that the deforested area in the Amazon in 2009 (6,451 km2) fell 14% in comparison to 2008. Compared to the last high in 2004 (27,772 km2), it was a 76% decrease. What led to this drop in deforesting levels? If the measures adopted were correct, why has it not yet stopped altogether? What must still be done to have it under control once and for all?

People deforest for a number of reasons, but these usually revolve around ensuring survival (small plantations), to profit from the sale of agricultural products or to earn some cash with the selling of plots taken by settlers (speculation). Those who speculate are also influenced by the market since the price of land goes up when agriculture-related prices increase. Many governmental policies also make deforesting more attractive, such as the subsidized agriculture credit and road improvements.” Continue the article.


New Skoll Awards Announced

April 1, 2010 by

The Skoll Foundation has just announced five new recipients of the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship.  Forest Trends, Imazon, and Telapak work on protecting forests and natural ecosystems in the Amazon, Indonesia and beyond.   One Acre Fund tackles subsistence farming in Africa through an integrated value-chain approach – inputs, training, and marketing – while Tostan uses human rights as a hook for driving community-based social change, including the abandonment of female genital cutting.  You can read more about these great organizations in our press release.  These five, along with Civic Ventures and Peace Dividend Trust, two award winners announced earlier, will all receive their awards (which include a $765,000 grant) at a ceremony at the Skoll World Forum in Oxford on April 15, 2010.


Skoll Foundation Announces New Investments in Leading Global Innovators

March 31, 2010 by

PALO ALTO, Calif.—March 31, 2010—The Skoll Foundation announced today its most recent investments in social entrepreneurs driving large scale change on critical issues around the globe. Recipients of the 2010 Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship include three organizations – Forest Trends, Imazon and Telapak – working to tackle climate change through innovative efforts to preserve tropical forests in the Amazon, Indonesia and beyond.  Also receiving the Skoll Award are One Acre Fund, which provides an integrated approach to empowering rural farmers in Africa, and Tostan, which has developed an innovative method to leverage human rights as a framework for community development. read more


© 2015 Skoll Foundation.