[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 8 April, 2004, 02:33 GMT 03:33 UK
Amazon shrinkage alarms activists
Loggers in the Amazon
Much Amazon destruction occurs due to logging to create farms
Environmental groups are calling for urgent action to slow deforestation in Brazil's Amazon jungle.

About 9,170 square miles (14,754 sq km) of forest were lost in 2003, just up from 8,983 square miles (14,454 sq km) in 2002, the Brazilian government says.

The scale is not as high as in the mid-1990s, but it confirms the world's largest forest is disappearing rapidly.

Rising exports of beef and soya in Brazil are said to encourage farmers to clear the forest for agriculture.

Scientists fear the clearances could affect the global climate as well as threatening thousands of unique plant and animal species.

"I am worried - the figures are too high," said Rosa Lemos de Sa, of conservation group WWF Brazil.

"The tendency is for it to stay high unless drastic measures are taken, and I don't see the government doing anything drastic."

Brazil's environment minister said the growth rate of deforestation had been halted.

"The big challenge is that 23,000 (sq km) is still a very worrying number," said Marina da Silva.

Last month, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva unveiled plans to halt the destruction amid criticism his government had failed to act.

He promised satellite monitoring and joint action by ministries after a 28 % jump in deforestation between 2001 and 2002 pushed the level toward the record rate seen in 1995.

On Wednesday, the government announced it had overestimated its 2001-2 figure of 10,190 square miles (25,500 sq km) and revised it to 8,983 square miles (23,260 sq km).

The BBC's David Shukman
"Brazil promises tougher action to safeguard the Amazon"

Amazon pipeline plan 'damaging'
27 Mar 04  |  Americas
Amazon carbon sink effect 'slows'
10 Mar 04  |  Americas
Brazil's rainforest slaves
30 Jul 02  |  Crossing Continents
Amazon destruction speeds up
27 Jun 03  |  Americas
Country profile: Brazil
24 Feb 04  |  Country profiles


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific