The Amazon rainforest has taken quite the hit due to urbanization, agriculture, and climate change over the years, but thankfully, there is now some relatively good news to report. According to the Brazilian government, deforestation has dropped to its lowest level in 24 years.
Satellite images have shown that 4,656 square kilometers of the precious ecosystem were deforested between August 2011 and July 2012. According to Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira, that’s 27% less than the 6,418 square kilometers deforested in the previous year, and Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research says this is the lowest it’s been since recordkeeping began in 1988.
Although it’s still 4,565 square kilometers (!), this is good news, and an indicator that Brazil is close to its 2020 goal of reducing deforestation by 80% from its 1990 level. As of July 2012, deforestation has dropped by 76.26%.
Government officials have started cracking down on deforestation activities pretty heavily, even selling impounded lumber in auctions and investing the money into preservation programs. Brazil will soon be using satellite monitoring to crack down even more and will issue fines for illegal logging. At this rate, it sounds like the 2020 goal could be reached a few years ahead of schedule.
Image:MODIS/NASA, Amazon rainforest, Brazil