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Posted Fri Jul 1 2011: from Bloomberg:
Amazon Deforestation Rates Double as Farmers Anticipate Pardons
Deforestation rates in the Amazon, the world's biggest rain forest, more than doubled in May as Brazilian farmers become more confident they'll be granted amnesty for illegal logging. Almost 268 square kilometers (66,200 acres) of protected rain forest were cut down in May, up from 110 square kilometers a year ago, the National Institute for Space Research said in an e-mailed statement. Brazil lawmakers are considering a bill that alters its forestry code and would forgive farmers who illegally cleared trees. The possibility that the government may ease these restrictions is encouraging more logging, said Marcio Astrini, coordinator of forest campaigns for Greenpeace International's Brazil unit. That would hamper international efforts to fight global warming by protecting trees that absorb greenhouse gases. "Brazil's been reducing its deforestation for the last five years and this bill comes along and now it shoots up," Astrini said yesterday by phone. "There is only one reason why deforestation is increasing: it's called the forestry code," which may be changing.
[Read more stories about: rain forest depletion, regulatory stupidity, governmental corruption]

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