Satellite images have revealed that deforestation in the Amazon has decreased by 23% over the past year, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research.
Between August 2011 and July 2012, deforestation was at 2,049 kilometers of land. In the same period the year before, it was 2,679 kilometers.
Deforestation is the process of clearing out the rainforest to make way for land to be used by farmers and developers. These numbers are incredibly encouraging for environmentalists, as the Amazon rainforest is the world’s largest single source of carbon dioxide, taking up about 10% of carbon storage in the ecosystem.
The Brazilian government has also announced it will be giving out $100 million from the Amazon Fund to local projects dedicated to preserving and maintaining the rainforest. The country is also planning to launch a satellite in 2013 that will help monitor deforestation.
The rainforest contains millions of plant and animal species, possibly more that have yet to be discovered, and could even contain plants and other wildlife with breakthrough medicinal properties. According to Greenpeace Brazil, this data suggests “it is possible to achieve zero deforestation in Brazil,” something that could be crucial to the future of the planet.