Satellite data through the end of July 2013 show that an area half the size of Puerto Rico has been cleared from the Amazon rainforest over 12 months, according to The Guardian. The destruction marks a reversal in restoration gains seen in tree cover there since 2009.
The Brazilian government reports that 5,891 square kilometers of the forest have been cleared in its Amazon regions, up 29 percent from the year before. The largest decreases were seen in Brazil’s Para and Mato Grosso states.
Illegal logging as well as public infrastructure projects are expected to have contributed to the increase in deforestation. Despite the move upward, figures are still not as bad as they were in 2004, when almost 30,000 square kilometers of forest were lost.
Image: Amazon canopy (Credit: Fabrice Marr, Creative Commons)