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News Link • Environment

Brazil vote sparks fears for future of rainforest

• By Dave Gilbert,
 Brazil stands at a crossroads in its efforts to preserve the Amazon rainforest as the government considers controversial legislation governing land use.

For most of the past decade, it has made a dramatic reduction in the rate of deforestation, providing a model of how it could be tackled in other rainforest areas such as Indonesia and Congo.

The Amazon rainforest covers a huge area, roughly half as large as the United States, with about 60% of it in Brazil.

It is estimated that nearly a fifth of the Brazilian forest has been lost since 1970; figures from Brazil's space research institute, INPE, show that 4.1 million square kilometers (1.58 million square miles) of Brazilian forest were still standing in 1970, compared with 3.35 million square kilometers (1.29 million square miles) today.

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