27 janvier 2008 7 27 /01 /janvier /2008 14:39


January 24, 2008

Climate Change

BRASILIA - The destruction of the Amazon forest surged over the last five months of 2007, the Brazilian government said on Wednesday, only months after hailing progress in curbing deforestation.




Deforestation in the Amazon, known as "the lungs of the world" for its ability to consume greenhouse gases and produce oxygen - shot up from 243 square km in August to 948 square km in December.


That is four times as much as in the same period of 2004, the government said. It did not provide comparative data for 2005 or 2006.


Photo: earthobservatory

"We've never before detected such a high deforestation rate at this time of year," Gilberto Camara, the head of the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), which provides satellite imaging of the area, told a news conference in the capital Brasilia.


Between August and December, 3235 sq km of the world's largest rain forest was lost, and environment ministry officials said that preliminary figure was likely to double as satellite images with higher resolution are analysed.



Joao Paulo Capobianco, the ministry's executive secretary, said the figures were "extremely worrying."

Only a few months ago, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva boasted about how Brazil managed to reduce deforestation by 50 per cent in the two years through July 2007.

The government had said that policies such as more controls on illegal logging and better certification of land ownership were reducing the deforestation that has destroyed about a fifth of the forest - an area bigger than France - since the 1970s.


Conservationists have warned that the recent rise in grain prices would lead to an increase in the deforestation, as farmers and ranchers go deeper into the Amazon in search of cheap land.

Environment Minister Marina Silva said the government will decide on Thursday new measures to curb deforestation in the Amazon, whose destruction is a major source of carbon emissions that cause global warming.




This story was found at: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/2/story.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10488508


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