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Page added on November 28, 2008

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Brazil Amazon destruction rises after 3-year fall

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Destruction of the Amazon forest in Brazil accelerated for the first time in four years, the government said on Friday, as high commodity prices tempted farmers and ranchers to slash more trees.

Satellite images showed nearly 4,633 square miles (12,000 sq km), or an area nearly the size of the U.S. state of Connecticut, were chopped down in the 12 months through July, the National Institute for Space Studies said.

That is up from 4,332 square miles (11,224 sq km) last year but still down from a peak of 10,570 square miles (27,379 sq km) in 2004.

Environment Minister Carlos Minc, at a news conference in the capital Brasilia, said he was dissatisfied with the figure but insisted it would have been much worse without government policies aimed at tackling illegal logging.

“Many had expected an increase of 30-40 percent and we managed to stabilize it,” Minc said.


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