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Brazil's Amazon deforestation rose by almost a third last year

Between August 2012 and July 2013, the Amazon was deforested 28 percent faster than the year before.

rainforest 28Enlarge
Data from the Brazilian government suggests that deforestation of Brazil's Amazon rainforest skyrocketed in 2012. (Antonio Scorza/AFP/Getty Images)

Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is speeding up, according to Brazil.

Between August 2012 and July 2013, the Amazon was deforested 28 percent faster than the year before.

"We confirm a 28 percent increase in the rate of deforestation, reaching 5,843 square kilometers (2256 square miles)," said environment minister, Izabella Teixeira.

"The Brazilian government does not tolerate and does not accept any rise in illegal deforestation."

The worrying trend was likely due to rising soya production and farming.

The increased deforestation was a reversal from the reduction of forest destruction since 2009.

Para and Mato Grosso, two large Brazilian states, saw a 37 and 52 percent rise respectively.

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The increase in deforestation is being linked to a controversial Brazilian reform passed in 2012.

The law reduced protected areas and allowed for amnesty to farmers who destroyed forest before 2008.

After being vetoed several times by President Dilma Rousseff, the farming lobby was successful in getting the measure passed.

"The government can't be surprised by this increase in deforestation, given that their own action is what's pushing it,'' Paulo Adario, coordinator of Greenpeace's Amazon campaign, told Al Jazeera.

The worst year for Brazilian Amazon deforestation was in 2004 when 27,000 square kilometers (10,400 square miles) of forest was removed.

Agriculture accounts for about five percent of Brazi's gross domestic product.

Brazil began tracking deforestation in 1988.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/brazil/131116/amazon-rainforest-depleted-at-breakneck-speed-last-year