Friday, November 28, 2014

Deforestation Drops 18% in Brazil's Amazon

A deforested area near Novo Progresso in Brazil's northern state of Para. (Credit: File, AP) Click to Enlarge.
Deforestation in the Amazon rain forest dropped 18% over the past 12 months, falling to the second-lowest level in a quarter century, Brazil's environment minister said on Wednesday.

Izabella Teixeira told participants at a news conference that 4 848 square kilometres of rain forest were destroyed between August 2013 and July 2014.  That's a bit larger than the US state of Rhode Island.

The figures were down from 5 891 square kilometres razed during the same period a year earlier, in the wake of the adoption of a controversial bill revising the Forest Code.

The measure, which passed in 2012 after more than a decade-long effort by Brazil's powerful agricultural lobby, mostly eased restrictions for landowners with smaller properties, allowing them to clear land closer to riverbanks.

Wednesday's lower figures came as a surprise because many environmental groups had been warning of a second consecutive spike in the annual deforestation numbers, as the forest continues to be razed to make way for grasslands for cattle grazing, soy plantations and logging.  Teixiera insisted the numbers were accurate.

Read more at Deforestation Drops 18% in Brazil's Amazon

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