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Brazil official says Amazon deforestation slowing

BRAZIL'S environment minister says increased policing brought a sharp drop in Amazon deforestation over the past year, despite a jump in July.

Environment Minister Carlos Minc says destruction in the 12-month period through July totaled 4,375 square kilometers (1,689 square miles). He says that is a 46 percent decline from the same period a year earlier.

Using satellite data, Brazil's government says 836.5 square kilometers of jungle were cleared in July. That is up from 323.7 square kilometers the previous year.

Minc said Tuesday that deforestation during all of 2009 - forecast to be around 8,500 square kilometers - will be the smallest amount in 20 years.


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