Thanks to Ed Levering for this article. See http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-13449792
19 May 2011
Brazil: Amazon rainforest deforestation rises sharply
Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has increased almost sixfold, new data suggests.
Satellite images show deforestation increased from 103 sq km in March and April 2010 to 593 sq km (229 sq miles) in the same period of 2011, Brazil’s space research institute says.
Much of the destruction has been in Mato Grosso state, the centre of soya farming in Brazil.
The news comes shortly before a vote on new forest protection rules.
Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said the figures were “alarming” and announced the setting up of a “crisis cabinet” in response to the news.
“Our objective is to reduce deforestation by July,” the minister told a news conference.
Analysts say the new figures have taken the government by surprise.
Last December, a government report said deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon had fallen to its lowest rate for 22 years.
However, the latest data shows a 27% jump in deforestation from August 2010 to April 2011.
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