20% of Amazon timber illegally harvested from protected areas
July 5, 2008
The report, based on data from Brazil's environmental enforcement agency Ibama, says that deforestation in protected areas increased 6.4 percent since 2006. Overall 22 percent of Amazon deforestation was recorded in reserves.
Brazil's minister of the environment called the findings "horrendous".
"It's a terrible number, it is horrendous," said Carlos Minc, who became the country's environmental minister in May. "It's not enough to create an area in maps, on paper to guarantee the conservation of the rainforest."
Minc said he will hire 120 specialists to analyze the current effectiveness of protected areas.
Brazil houses more than 60 percent of the Amazon rainforest, the world's largest tropical forest. Over the past 30 years nearly one-fifth of the forest area has been cleared, largely for agriculture and cattle pasture. Scientists estimate the forest may be home to one quarter of the world's land-based plant and animal species as well as the largest population of indigenous people still living in traditional ways.