Decline in Amazon forest destruction.

Data released on Tuesday suggests destruction of Amazon rain forests has slowed to the lowest rate since monitoring began in 1988. The figures, based on Brazilian government data gathered by satellite imagery, mark the fourth straight year the overall deforestation levels have slowed.

But scientists warn, they must still confirm by follow-up research whether the reality on the ground matches what seems to be the case from the sky, especially as loggers and farmers clear smaller but more numerous patches of woodland in efforts to evade detection.

Three of the nine Amazonian states measured in the recent data actually showed increases in deforestation. Meanwhile, scientists and environmentalists warn that changes to Brazil’s environmental policies in recent years could soon begin reversing the progress.

Brazil deforestation

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