Bolsonaro Plans to Replace State Agency with Private Company for Amazon Rainforest Satellite Surveillance

Only one private company, Planet, is qualified to do the surveillance

Ibama, the Brazilian Institute of the Environment and Renewable Natural Resources, plans to replace the National Institute for Space Research in monitoring the Amazon Rainforest with a private company. Only one private company, Planet, is capable of doing satellite monitoring of the Amazon forest.

Inpe performs a similar service and has been publicly criticized, without scientific justification, by the Jair Bolsonaro (PSL) government.

The application calls for a private company to provide daily high spatial resolution alerts of deforestation evidence, monitoring with alerts similar to what is already done by Inpe's Deter (Real Time Deforestation Detection) system.

Deter's satellite images - Inpe

In recent months, the Deter showed massive deforestation in the Amazon. Destruction in June increased 90% and in July 278% - compared to June and July 2018 respectively - according to Inpe data.

The announcement of the sharp increase in deforestation and the international repercussion displeased President Bolsonaro. At breakfast with foreign journalists on July 19, when asked about the matter, the president said that the then director of INPE, Ricardo Galvão, could be "at the service of some NGO."

Galvão defended himself against the accusations and also defended the data produced by Inpe. On August 2, the then director of the institute was dismissed by Marcos Pontes, Minister of Science and Technology.

"The intention of acquiring satellite images of high temporal and spatial resolution is justified by Ibama's search for a viable and operational solution for a more efficient, effective, and faster management of oversight actions. to combat illegal deforestation and illegal selective logging in the Amazon region, "the application said. 

The notice seeks companies specializing in "daily imaging by high spatial resolution orthorectified orbital images for the generation of daily alerts of deforestation evidence (daily revisit)."

The call accurately describes the profile of the images produced by the company Planet. According to satellite monitoring, experts heard by the report, it would be the only company in the market capable of producing daily images from the same location.

Planet's distributor of images in Brazil is consulting firm Santiago e Cintra. Sought by the report, the company declined to comment. The company's website confirms the description of the service similar to the one in the announcement: orthorectified images with 3 meters of spatial resolution and daily revisit.

The ministry's main argument for contracting Planet images has been the ability to generate high-resolution images of 3 m².

Folha had learned that the minister wanted to hire Santiago & Cintra, which this year has been at least twice in the ministry to address the issue.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon

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