This year’s rate of deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest will be comparable with 2007, the nation’s environment minister is reported as saying.
Mongabay.com reports Carlos Minc as being more optimistic than earlier this year, when he forecast the highest level of felling of trees since 2004.
In April, Mr Minc had estimated that up to 15,000 square kilometres (sq km) of forest would be lost, an increase from the 11,224 sq km lost in 2007.
Mongabay.com quotes him as now saying that the figure will likely be around 12,000 sq km for 2008.
The minister’s comments apparently come after harsh criticism from some of the country’s largest agroindustrial firms which said that government satellite data was overestimating deforestation.
Cattle ranching is the largest driver of rainforest destruction in the Brazilian Amazon, although expansion of giant soy farms is increasingly an incentive to clear forest for new pasture.