Amazon deforestation falls 23%
Latest figures show continuation of drop off in Amazon deforestation seen in recent years
There was good news for nature lovers and anyone with a concern for the natural world this week when it was announced the deforestation levels in the Amazon have once again seen a significant decline.
Satellite photos from taken by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research as part of its Real Time Deforestation Detection System (Deter), reveal a 23 per cent reduction in deforestation from August 2011 to July 2012 against the previous year, with 2,049 sq km being cleared compared with 2,679 sq km in the previous 12 months.
The figures mark the continuation of a recent trend for declining levels of Amazon deforestation, which has fallen by about three-quarters since a peak in 2004.
Brazil's environment minister Izabella Teixeria said the slowing trend in deforestation is a result of strengthened enforcement efforts and monitoring initiatives by the Brazilian government, the Environment News Service reports.
"This is a great result, which makes us want to work even harder to tackle illegal deforestation," she said.
Dr Carlos Nobre, secretary for research and development policies and programs at the Ministry of Science and Technology, added that R$100 million (£31 million) from the government's Amazon Fund will be made available in the coming weeks to support local projects designed to promote sustainability in the Amazon region.
"Lasting reduction in deforestation requires more than enforcement and control. This is why the Ministry of Science and Technology is working on a strategy for a new economic model for the Amazon," he said.
However, illegal logging and other human interference in the Amazon remains a major concern for environmentalists and despite the fall in the deforestation rate, roughly 224,000 square miles of the rainforest have still been lost since 1980.
Nevertheless, the Guardian reports that Greenpeace Brazil said in a statement that the new data showed that "it is possible to achieve zero deforestation in Brazil".
Meanwhile, those longing for a chance to experience the amazing natural wonder that is the Amazon Rainforest for themselves can do so on an overland adventure in South America, with several tours to the continent including stop offs in the Amazon.