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  Shrinking Amazon alarms activists
Updated 08 April 2004, 08.48
Amazon rainforest, Brazil
Environmental groups are calling for urgent action to stop the cutting down of the Amazon rainforest.

The Brazilian government say around 9,170 square miles of the forest was lost in 2003, an area bigger than Wales and the second highest amount ever.

They blame farmers, who are cutting down the trees to make space for cattle and growing soya.

Environmentalist Rosa Lemos de Sa said the figures would stay high unless the government did something drastic.

Fire in the Amazon
Fires have also damaged the forests
Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has promised action.

He plans to monitor the rainforests with satellites and get government ministries to work together to solve the problem.

Some people have criticised his government for not doing enough to save the forests, nicknamed the "lungs of the world" because they produce so much oxygen.

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