Thu 06 Aug 2009
Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon rainforest was four times higher in June than the previous month, according to official data from Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research.
The figures, taken from satellite images, come in the same week UK Energy and Climate Change Minister Ed Miliband is visiting the country to discuss global warming.
Satellite imagery analyzed by Brazil's National Institute for Space Research showed 578 square kilometres (223 square miles) of Amazon woodland was burned or cut down. The area is roughly the size of Switzerland’s Lake Geneva.
The forest is under threat from the logging and cattle ranch industries. The Amazon holds up to 86 billion tonnes of carbon and if destroyed, would vastly speed up the effect of global warming.
According to the Space Agency, nearly 4,700 square kilometres of rainforest has been felled in the past year despite promises from the Brazilian Government to slow deforestation by 70 percent over the next 10 years.
Earlier this week Ed Miliband urged world leaders ahead of the Copenhagen meeting in December to protect the Amazon rainforest and the indigenous tribes whose livelihood are at risk from deforestation.