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quarta-feira, 18 de maio de 2011

@BBCWorld Huge rise in #Brazil deforestation

Huge rise in deforestation

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/

Brazil: Amazon rainforest deforestation rises sharply


Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has increased by almost six times, new data suggests.

New satellite images show deforestation has increased from 103 sq km in March and April 2010 to 593 sq km (229 sq miles) in the same period of 2011, Brazil's space research institute says.

Much of the destruction has been in Mato Grosso state, the centre of soya farming in Brazil.

The news comes shortly before a vote on new forest protection rules.

Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira says there is cause for alarm and has announced the setting up of a "crisis cabinet" in response to the news.

"Our objective is to reduce deforestation by July," the minister told a news conference.

Analysts say the new figures have taken the government by surprise.

Last December, a government report said deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon had fallen to its lowest rate for 22 years.

However, the latest data shows a 27% jump in deforestation from August 2010 to April 2011.

Changes in law

The latest data comes amid a heated debate in the lower house of Congress on whether to ease an existing law on forest protection.

Observers expect the issue to be put before the Chamber of Deputies again this week.

Brazil's Forest Code, enacted in 1934 and subsequently amended in 1965, sets out how much of his land a farmer can deforest.

Regulations currently require that 80% of a landholding in the Amazon remain forest, but that falls to 20% in other areas.

Proponents of change say the law impedes economic development and contend that Brazil must open more land for agriculture.

However, opponents fear that in their current form some of the proposed changes might give farmers a form of amnesty for deforested land.

The changes were put forward by Aldo Rebelo, leader of Brazil's Communist Party (PCdoB) and backed by a group in Congress known as the "ruralists" who want Brazil to develop its agribusiness sector.