Amazon deforestation destroyed area almost as big as the United Kingdom in 10 years

Associated Press/The Washington Post, 12/04/2012

Deforestation in the Amazon destroyed an area almost as big as the United Kingdom between 2000 and 2010, environmental watchdog agencies said Tuesday.

The study prepared by the Amazon Information Network was released in Bolivia. It showed that close to 93,000 square miles (240,000 square kilometers) of Amazon rainforest were devastated in the 10-year period, the network said in a statement.

The main culprits are illegal logging, the construction of highways, mining, farming and ranching, the construction of hydroelectric dams and oil and gas drilling and exploration.

Sixty-three percent of the rainforest’s 2.4 million square miles (6.1 million square kilometers) are in Brazil, and 80.4 percent of the 2000-2010 deforestation occurred in that country, the study said. Peru was responsible for 6.2 percent of the deforestation, and Colombia came in third with 5 percent.

The pace of Amazon deforestation in Brazil and the other countries, with the exception of Colombia and French Guiana, has slowed, the study said.

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