August 05, 2009
Figures released by INPE, Brazil's National Space Agency, showed that forest loss detected by its DETER (for Real-time Detection of Deforestation) system for monitoring deforestation fell from 417 square kilometers in June 2008 to 399 square kilometers in June 2009. Final figures for the 2008/2009 year are due out in the next couple of months.
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon typically peaks during the June-August dry season when ranchers and farmers burn forest to clear land for development. A widely published AFP story noting that Amazon deforestation is on the rise based on a comparison between forest loss in May and June ignores this fact.