2 Dec 2010

Deforestation levels lowered in the Amazon

12:58 pm on 2 December 2010

The Brazilian government says deforestation in the Amazon has fallen to its lowest level in more than 20 years.

Satellite monitoring shows about 6450 square km of Amazon rainforest were cleared in 2009 and 2010, a drop of 14% on the previous year.

Officials said the reduction was due to better monitoring and police control.

Environment minister Izabella Teixeira said she would be "proud" to present the results at the UN Climate Change Conference currently taking place in Cancun, Mexico.

The BBC reports the latest figure represents an area more than half the size of Lebanon or Jamaica. But it is far lower than the peak of 27,772 sq km in 2004.

President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva pledged in 2005 to reduce deforestation by 80% by 2020.