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Page last updated at 00:38 GMT, Friday, 13 November 2009
Amazon deforestation 'record low'
The rate of deforestation in the Amazon has dropped by 45% and is the lowest on record since monitoring began 21 years ago, Brazil's government says.According to the latest annual figures, just over 7,000 sq km was destroyed between July 2008 and August 2009.
The drop is welcome news for the government in advance of the Copenhagen summit on climate change.
But Greenpeace says there is still too much deforestation and the government's targets are not ambitious enough.
According to the Brazilian space agency, which monitors deforestation in the Amazon, the annual rate of destruction fell by 45%.
Welcoming the news, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva described the drop in the level of deforestation as "extraordinary".
He said climate change was the most challenging issue the world was facing.
The Brazilian government will undoubtedly view the latest figures as a boost to its green credentials coming just before the Copenhagen summit in December.
At the summit, the Brazilian government seems certain to present its efforts to reduce destruction in the Amazon as a key part of its strategy to combat climate change.
The environment ministry here is said to be proposing that around half of a 40% cut in Brazil's carbon emissions would come from reducing deforestation.
The Brazilian government wants to see an 80% reduction in the deforestation rate by 2020.
The environmental pressure group, Greenpeace, welcomed the latest drop as important, but said that there was still too much destruction in the rainforest.
In a statement, it said the president would be happy if, in 11 years time, the
Amazon was being destroyed at a rate of a little less than three cities the size of Sao Paulo a year.
Some environmentalists believe that the fall in deforestation may be connected to the economic downturn, and that when things improve, the Amazon could face renewed pressure.
2.Brazil releases official Amazon deforestation figures for 2009
November 13, 2009
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon fell nearly 46 percent to the lowest annual loss on record in 2009, reported the Brazilian government Thursday.
INPE, the country's space agency, found that 7,008 square kilometers (2,705 square miles) of forest were cleared during the 12-month period ended July 2009, the lowest extent since annual record-keeping began in 1988.
"The new deforestation data represents an extraordinary and significant reduction for Brazil," President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said in a statement.
The reduction in Amazon deforestation comes a year after Brazil announced an ambitious plan to reduce forest loss by 70 percent by 2018 as part of its climate policy. Deforestation accounts for more than three-fifths of Brazil's greenhouse gas emissions and nearly 20 percent of emissions worldwide. Brazil is seeking billions of dollars from industrialized nations for its efforts to reduce deforestation.