Brazil data suggests spike in Amazon deforestation

RIO DE JANEIRO,  (Reuters) – Preliminary data released yesterday by Brazil’s space agency suggests Amazon deforestation spiked by more than a third during the past year, reversing a steady decline in destruction of the world’s largest rainforest.

If substantiated by follow-up data typically compiled by the end of the year, the increase would confirm fears by scientists and environmental activists who warn that farming, mining and Amazon infrastructure projects, coupled with changes to Brazil’s long-standing environmental policies, are reversing progress made against deforestation.

Last year, Amazon deforestation was shown to be at a record low.

The likely increase in deforestation has prompted concerns that Brazil may have let its guard down and provided an opening for loggers, ranchers and others eager to develop parts of a forest that is seven times the size of France.

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