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 user 2008-01-24 at 11:27:00 am Views: 35
  • #19139

    Brazil Amazon deforestation soars
    The Amazon has long been known as the “lungs of the world”
    Brazilian government has announced a huge rise in the rate of Amazon
    deforestation, months after celebrating its success in achieving a

    the last five months of 2007, 3,235 sq km (1,250 sq miles) were
    lost.Gilberto Camara, of INPE, an institute that provides satellite
    imaging of the area, said the rate of loss was unprecedented for the
    time of year.Officials say rising commodity prices are encouraging
    farmers to clear more land to plant crops such as soya.The monthly rate
    of deforestation saw a big rise from 243 sq km (94 sq miles) in August
    to 948 sq km (366 sq miles) in December.”We’ve never before detected
    such a high deforestation rate at this time of year,” Mr Camara
    said.His concern, outlined during a news conference in Brasilia on
    Wednesday, was echoed by Environment Minister Marina Silva.

    Expensive soya
    Silva said rising prices of raw materials and commodities could be
    spurring the rate of forest clearing, as more and more farmers saw the
    Amazon as a source of cheap land.”The economic reality of these states
    indicate that these activities impact, without a shadow of a doubt, on
    the forest,” she said.The state of Mato Grosso was the worst affected,
    contributing more than half the total area of forest stripped, or 1,786
    sq km (700 sq miles).The states of Para and Rondonia were also badly
    affected, accounting for 17.8% and 16% of the total cleared
    respectively.The situation may also be worse than reported, with the
    environment ministry saying the preliminary assessment of the amount of
    forest cleared could double as more detailed satellite images are

    President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva is due to attend
    an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss new measures to tackle
    deforestation in the AmazonThe latest figures will be an embarrassment
    for the Brazilian president, correspondents say.Last year, President
    Lula said his government’s efforts to control illegal logging and
    introduce better certification of land ownership had helped reduce
    forest clearance significantly.Even as he celebrated the success,
    though, environmentalists were warning that the rate was rising again.