Brazil Amazon deforestation up 28 pct

Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rose 28 percent over the past year, the country's environment minister said Thursday, announcing she was calling an emergency meeting on the matter.

"We confirm a 28 percent increase in the rate of deforestation, reaching 5,843 square kilometers (2,256 square miles)," Izabella Teixeira told reporters, referencing provisional statistics for August 2012 through July of this year.

Extensive farming and soybean production in the northern state of Para and the central western state of Mato Grosso were key factors behind the rise, said Teixeira, citing respective increases of 37 percent and 52 percent for the two states.

Teixeira said she would meet with Amazon regional environment officials next week to demand explanations and measures to deal with the situation on her return from a United Nations climate change summit in Poland.