Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon won't increase significantly for 2008
August 15, 2008
"I'm more optimistic now," Minc was quoted by Bloomberg as saying. "I believe deforestation will be the same as last year."
Earlier Minc had estimated that up to 15,000 square kilometers of forest would be lost, an increase from the 11,224 sq km lost in 2007. He now says that the figure will likely be around 12,000 sq km for 2008.
Minc's comments come after harsh criticism from some of the country's largest agroindustrial firms which said that government satellite data was overestimating deforestation. Cattle ranching is the largest driver of rainforest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon, although expansion of giant soy farms is increasingly an incentive to clear forest for new pasture.
Brazil accounted for nearly half of global tropical forest loss between 2000 and 2005.
The Brazilian Amazon consists of about 4.1 million square kilometers, of which about 3.4 million are forested. Overall about 20 percent of the Brazilian Amazon has been cleared since the late 1970s. Still the Amazon remains the largest rainforest on Earth. More than 60 percent of the forest lies in Brazil.