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The rate of deforestation in the Amazon is alarming. More than 20 square miles of forest is destroyed each day, and 80 per cent of this deforestation is illegal. And things are getting worse: almost twice as much forest was burnt in 2002 as in the previous year.

Brazil's new environment minister, Marina Silva, has pledged to change the management of the Amazon, to address the current "equivocal model of agrarian reform and settlements", which is responsible for more than half of the deforestation in the region. But several reports published in the past few weeks are sparking concern among scientists and nongovernmental organisations about the future of the region.

In this article, Washington Novaes assesses the options available for the new Brazilian government to slow down deforestation in the region.

Link to O Estado de S. Paulo article (in Portuguese)

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