Brazil’s Environmental Minister Izabella Teixeira has said that the rate of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has increased by 28 per cent in the past year.
Provisional statistics suggest that the increase has seen 5,843 sq km of rainforest suffer from deforestation between August 2012 and July 2013, compared to 4,571 sq km in the previous 12 months.
Although the statistics are still significantly below those of 2004, which saw the destruction of 27,000 sq km of the Amazon, the Brazilian Government is still concerned that the rate of deforestation is now on the rise.
Many environmentalists blame the upwards trend on a forest protection law reform in 2012, which reduced the protected areas in farms and declared an amnesty for all areas destroyed before 2008.
Ms Teixeira has disputed these claims, suggesting that President Dilma Rousseff’s legislation changes were not to blame. She instead highlighted the 4,000 criminal actions taken against deforesters in the past year, all of which have helped to reduce the threat of deforestation.
Despite the recent rise, the Brazilian Government, along with environmentalists and firms such as Greenwood Management, are standing by their commitment to fighting deforestation, aiming to reduce rainforest destruction by 80 per cent by 2020 based on the average that was recorded between 1996 and 2005.