When Celso Silva Junior, a Ph.D. candidate at the Brazilian Institute for Space Research (INPE), stepped back from his recently completed map of Brazil’s secondary forests, he was surprised by the sheer quantity that had grown back since the 1980s. About a third of Brazil’s lost forests have recovered naturally, an area approximately the size of the United Kingdom — 262,791 square kilometers (101,464 square miles), according to the map Junior published in a recent study in the journal Scientific Data in collaboration with 11 other researchers. But until the article’s publication this past August, scientists didn’t know the exact extent of forest regrowth in Brazil, how old these forests were, or where they were located. Now, the authors of the study told Mongabay, the maps can be used to support recovery, track deforestation patterns, and even prevent wildfires. Recovery forest in the Brazilian Amazon. Image by Celso Silva Junior. “If every seven years, secondary forest is cut down, then you know that in a six-year-old secondary forest in that region, fire or deforestation is imminent,” said co-author Liana Anderson, a researcher at Brazil’s National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters. During a dry year, authorities can use this information to prevent large forest fires and clear-cutting before it happens. “It’s better to plan ahead instead of dealing with the damage, which is what has been happening in the last two years,” Anderson said, in reference to the reactive approach by the government of President Jair Bolsonaro…This article was originally published on Mongabay Läs mer