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Over the past two months, the Brazilian Amazon has registered a sharp spike in deforestation.

Official figures have not yet been released by the Brazilian government, but new satellite footage shows that the rate of deforestation in the region rose 29 percent last year, and it’s picking up speed, according to a report by The Guardian:

Satellite data indicates a 190% surge in land clearance in August and September compared with the same period last year as loggers and farmers exploit loopholes in regulations that are designed to protect the world’s largest forest.

Figures released by Imazon, a Brazilian nonprofit research organisation, show that 402 square kilometres – more than six times the area of the island of Manhattan – was cleared in September.

The Guardian noted that Brazil’s election season is also impacting the deforestation issue, as President Dilma Rousseff’s administration has forged ties with agribusiness groups and her challenger, Aécio Neves, is a pro-business candidate. Given these options for the country’s top political position, the “world’s largest forest” is in imminent danger of losing its title in the near future.

— Posted by Donald Kaufman

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