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Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon drops 22.3% in year through July

Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon drops 22.3% in year through July
PORTO VELHO, RONDONIA, BRAZIL - AUGUST 25: In this aerial image, A section of the Amazon rain forest that has been decimated by wild fires on August 25, 2019 in the Candeias do Jamari region near Porto Velho, Brazil. According to INPE, Brazil's National Institute of Space Research, the number of fires detected by satellite in the Amazon region this month is the highest since 2010. (Photo by Victor Moriyama/Getty Images)

SAO PAULO, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon dropped by 22.3% in the 12 months through July, government data showed on Friday, marking the smallest area cleared from the world's largest rainforest since 2018.

Some 9,001 square kilometers (3475.31 square miles) of Amazon jungle – often described as the “lungs of the world” for its ability to absorb carbon dioxide – were cleared in the 12 months through July, according to data from Brazilian space research agency Inpe.

This compares to the 11,568 square kilometers Inpe said was cleared in the same period a year earlier.

The data, produced yearly by Inpe’s PRODES satellite monitoring program, is far more accurate than its DETER alert system, which publishes weekly figures.

Destruction in the Amazon had spiked under former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who had weakened environmental protection agencies, paving the way for an influx of illegal miners, ranchers and land-grabbers to clear the forest.

Current President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, whose term began at the start of this year, has staked his international reputation on rebuilding the rainforest protection system and curbing deforestation.

(Reporting by Peter Frontini; Editing by Kylie Madry)

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