Amazon deforestation speeds up: Brazil space agency

Amazon deforestation speeds up: Brazil space agency

4 August 2009

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Brazil — Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest in June was four times more devastating than the month before, further depleting what is seen as one of the biggest buffers against global warming, official data revealed Tuesday.

Satellite imagery analyzed by Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research showed 578 square kilometers (223 square miles) of Amazon woodland was burned or cut down.

That was more than four times the devastation recorded in May, and roughly equivalent to the size of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva, or half the area of California’s biggest city of Los Angeles.

Most of the destruction was concentrated in the Brazilian states of Para and Mato Grosso. Ranchers and farmers regularly encroach on the vast zone.

Between July 2008 and June 2009, more than 4,700 square kilometers of Amazon jungle has disappeared, according to the space agency’s imagery.

Brazil last December vowed to slow the rate of deforestation in the Amazon, the world’s biggest tropical woodland, by 70 percent over a decade.

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