Deforestation declined nearly 41% in the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil, in 2005, more than the 31% average verified between August, 2004, and July, 2005, in the nine states that make up the Brazilian Amazon region as it is legally defined.

    The statistics, compiled by Brazil’s National Space Research Institute (INPE), were announced this Thursday, February 9, by the Brazilian minister of Environment, Marina Silva, in a press conference to three state-owned Radiobrás radio stations: Amazon National Radio, Brasí­lia National AM Radio, and Rio de Janeiro National Radio.

    According to the Minister, Pará and Rondônia also achieved significant reductions in their deforestation indices: around 28% in Pará and 18% in Rondônia.

    Despite these positive results, Silva judges the indices in these states still to be high. "Our big effort will be to keep this deforestation declining, since a good deal of the deforestation practiced there is illegal," she remarked.

    Implementation of the Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Deforestation in the Amazon was discussed, Wednesday, February 8, at a meeting coordinated by the presidential chief-of-staff, Dilma Rousseff.

    The plan involves 13 ministries, working together. According to minister Silva, the results obtained so far in each state of the region were analyzed.

    According to the Minister, one of the causes of concern is that, due to the intensification of inspection activities, the deforestation frontiers end up migrating from one municipality to another. As a result, when deforestation indices drop in certain municipalities, they rise in others.

    "There are municipalities in Pará that have experienced significant decreases: The reduction, overall, was 28%. But in certain municipalities, such as São Félix do Xingu, deforestation rose, so we cannot lower our guard," she said.

    "We have to keep up the inspection [in the municipalities] where [the index] declined and extend it to municipalities where new fronts were opened," she emphasized.

    According to the minister, around US$ 182 million are available to combat deforestation in the Amazon through 2007.

    "These resources are distributed among the 13 ministries that are part of the plan," she explained.

    She said that at the last meeting it was decided that each ministry should step up the activities under its purview.

    Agência Brasil

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