Brazil says deforestation reduced

Nov. 28, 2012 at 8:08 PM

BRASILIA, Brazil, Nov. 28 (UPI) -- The Brazilian government says the denuding of the Amazon rainforest has reached its lowest level since monitoring began 24 years ago.

The rate of deforestation fell 27 percent in the year to July compared with the previous 12 months, Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said, crediting government action against offenders.

Still, more than 1,780 square miles of rainforest have been lost in a year and in some Brazilian states deforestation has risen, the BBC reported Wednesday.

"Regrettably we have noticed that in states that didn't have an aggressive level of deforestation [protection] there has been a rise," Teixeira said.

In the state of Acre there was a rise of 10 percent, in Amazonas 29 percent and in Tocantins 33 percent, she said.

Amazon deforestation in Brazil is being driven by illegal trafficking in timber and minerals, forest fires and the spread of agriculture, making the country one of the world's biggest greenhouse gas emitters.

Destruction of the world's forests releases large quantities of the greenhouse gas CO2 that contributes to global warming.

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