Amazon deforestation remains low in Brazil
August 10, 2010

Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has fallen since last year, say Brazilian officials.

Data from INPE, Brazil's Space Agency, show a 49 percent decline in the August 2009-June 2010 window, relative to the year earlier period. INPE says forest clearing fell from 1,875 square kilometers to around 1125 sq km, but cautioned that the figures are still far from finalized. Annual deforestation data for Brazil is typically tabulated at the end of July when cloud cover is at a low in the region and analysts have conducted higher resolution assessment of forest extent.

Imazon, a Brazil-based NGO that tracks deforestation, says that only about half the Brazilian Amazon was visible by satellite during April and May due to cloudy conditions. Imazon's analysis, released last month, showed a seven increase in deforestation between August 2008-May 2009 and August 2009-May 2010, from 1084 sq km to 1161 sq km. Final figures are expected in late August or September.

Deforestation in the Brazilian has fallen substantially since 2004 when clearing reached 27,000 sq km. In 2008, President Lula announced a plan to reduce deforestation by 70 percent from a 1996-2005 baseline under his climate change action plan. So far Brazil is ahead of its target.

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Amazon deforestation remains low in Brazil.