July 16, 2008

Brazil Reduces Estimate of 2008 Amazon Rainforest Destruction

Brazil reduces estimate of 2008 Amazon rainforest destruction

RIO DE JANEIRO, July 15 (Xinhua) -- Brazilian Environment Minister Carlos Minc Tuesday said the government has revised its estimate of the Amazon rainforest's total destruction area for 2008 from 15,000 to 13,000 square km.

According to the National Institute for Space Research (Inpe), the deforestation in the Amazon region registered 1,096 square km in May, down from 1,123 square km in April.

The minister said at a press conference Tuesday that the result in May marked a break in a series of monthly-increasing figures of Brazil's deforestation.

But he said the deforestation was still much higher than should be. The deforested area in May was almost equal to the size of Rio.

The country's deforested area in 2007 totaled less than 12,000 square km.

The controversy over preservation policies and the tension between the federal government and the two states having the highest deforestation rates -- Mato Grosso and Rondonia, caused the resignation of former environment minister Marina Silva, who was replaced by Minc.

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