Amazon deforestation falls to lowest recorded level
New research has raised hopes that the Amazon Rainforest will be around for future generations of those on trips to South America to enjoy after revealing that deforestation has fallen to the lowest level on record.
According to figures from the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE), which uses satellite images to monitor the rainforest, between August 2010 and July 2011 the Amazon lost 6,238 square km of forest.
This is the smallest figure since INPE monitoring began in 1988 and 11 per cent lower than the 7,000 square km of destruction recorded in 2010.
The Brazilian government attributed the decline in deforestation to stricter monitoring and inspection actions.
In recent years, the government has stepped up enforcement of environmental laws largely by sending armed environmental agents into the jungle to carry out large raids on deforestation hotspots.
"We'll continue with determination to reduce the illegal deforestation in the Amazon," the Press Association quotes Brazilian environment minister Izabella Teixeira as saying at a press conference following the announcement of the latest figures.
Covering around 1.4 billion acres and containing some of the richest biodiversity known anywhere on Earth, the Amazon Rainforest is a must-see for anyone on an overland adventure in South America.
Brazil contains a greater proportion of the rainforest than any other country at 60 per cent and despite recent progress deforestation continues to be a major issue in the country and around 20 per cent of the Brazilian Amazon has already been lost, mostly through clearing for farmland.
It was recently announced that the UK government has pledged £10 million to help tackle deforestation in Brazil in a bid to protect wildlife and reduce carbon emissions.
The money will go towards helping farmers in the Cerrado region of central Brazil to restore natural habitats, reduce forest fires and ease the pressure for more deforestation to provide land for agriculture.