With reporting by Herton Escobar.
There's also the potential for conflict of interest, critics say. The ministry would be paying a company to evaluate deforestation, which is one measure of how well the ministry is doing its job. That raises important questions, Souza says: "How transparent will the system be? Can it be verified by civil society?"
INPE's methods are transparent and its analysis independent of the ministry, experts say. "If you want to save the Amazon," says Moutinho, "we need a very robust monitoring system of deforestation."