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Lula hails slower pace of Amazon destruction

by Staff Writers
Brasilia (AFP) Aug 14, 2007
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula de Silva has welcomed figures showing the pace of deforestation in the Amazon has slowed over the past year.

"It's important that people be aware that preserving the environment now, doing things in a way that respects the law, is a basic condition for Brazil to win more credibility abroad," Lula said Monday in his weekly radio address.

Lula spoke after a government report showed that the rate of deforestation had decreased by close to 30 percent in the 12-month period ending in July.

The government estimates released on Friday showed 9,600 square kilometers (3,706 square miles) of Amazon forest had been destroyed between August 2006 and July 2007, the lowest level of deforestation recorded in 30 years.

In the previous year, between August 2005 and July 2006, Brazil had lost 14,039 kilometers (5,420 square miles) of Amazon forest.

Lula said he hoped the trend would be maintained in future years and that by the end of his term in 2010, deforestation in Brazil would reduced to an "acceptable" level.

Lula said preserving the Amazon jungle did not mean sacrificing economic growth and farming could be carried out in denuded sections of the Amazon.

"It's possible that our agriculture can grow without invading the Amazon ... We have enormous areas that have been degraded that can be used for cultivation, without encroaching in areas that we have to preserve," he said.

Environment Minister Marina Silva has attributed the latest results to government efforts to monitor and punish deforestation.

Deforestation hit a peak in 2003-2004 with 27,429 square kilometers (10,590 miles) of forest cleared.

Scientists warn that the destruction of Amazonian forest threatens to accelerate global warming.

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Rain Forest Protection Works In Peru
Stanford, CA (SPX) Aug 12, 2007
A new regional study shows that land-use policies in Peru have been key to tempering rain forest degradation and destruction in that country. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology led an international effort to analyze seven years of high-resolution satellite data covering most (79%) of the Peruvian Amazon for their findings. The work is published in the August 9, 2007, on-line edition of Science Express.

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