Amazon deforestation accelerates

亞馬遜地區森林濫伐持續增加

The destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil has accelerated for the first time in four years, Brazilian officials say.

巴西政府指出,亞馬遜雨林地區的削減面積增加是這四年內頭一遭。

Satellite images show 11,968 sq km of land was cleared in the year to July, nearly 4% higher than the year before.

衛星照片顯示,今年年初到七月,11,968平方公里的雨林被砍了,這比去年的數據多出了4%。

The government said the figure was unsatisfactory but could have been a lot worse if it had not taken action against illegal logging.

巴西政府認為這情形如果沒有取締非法濫伐的話可能會更嚴重。

High commodity prices had allegedly tempted farmers to clear more land.

高商業利益的經濟作物也吸引了不少農夫想砍森林來開地耕田。

In recent years the Brazilian government has been able to celebrate three successive falls in deforestation.

近三年來,巴西政府都順利的收到砍乏森林數量減少的數字。

But the latest estimate from the National Institute for Space Research, known as INPE, shows that this trend has come to a halt.

但是,由國家太空研究院(INPE)最新估出的砍乏數字顯示出這樣令人開心的情形已經不在。

'Could be worse'

Gilberto Camara of the Space Research Institute, said they would have liked better news.

國家太空研究所的吉爾伯‧卡麥拉指出這也可以視為一個還算好的消息了。

"We believe it is a setback, but we believe it is also positive in the sense that the expected levels were much higher," Mr Camara said.

「我們都知道這是一大挫折,但我們相信這消息還算樂觀,因為預估的數字比這個高太多了。」卡麥拉先生說

"There was a lot of burning on the ground in the second half of 2007, which could have led to a much greater increase in deforestation."

「2007的後半年有多起焚林,都很有可能造成更嚴重的雨林面積縮減。」

In late 2007 and early 2008 there were signs that deforestation was on the rise again - with land said to be in demand for cattle and soya at a time when commodity prices were high, says the BBC's Garry Duffy in Sao Paulo.

2007年末到2008年初,出現不少雨林會被加速砍乏的徵兆。BBC在聖保羅的傑瑞‧道非說在經濟作物價格急遽成長的當下,很多人都想開墾雨林來養牛或種黃豆。

In response the government announced a series of measures to clamp down on illegal logging, including a major operation involving police and environmental inspectors known as the "Arc of Fire".

當局政府加強取締非法濫伐,警方與環保監督人是攜手合作,實施弧火計畫。

Brazil's Environment Minister, Carlos Minc, said that without actions like this, the figures could have been much higher.

巴西環保局局長查爾斯‧米克說如果不採取這樣的行動,雨林減少的數字會更高而已。

"Many had expected an increase of 30-40% and we managed to stabilise it," Mr Minc told a news conference.

米克先生在記者會上說「許多人認為會增加30% 到40%的雨林被濫伐,但我們壓制住了。」

But he said that the government was still not satisfied.

但他說政府對這樣的結果還不甚滿意。

"We want to lower numbers even more. We want zero deforestation."

「我們想再降低這個數字,我們期待零森林砍乏。」

Environmental groups will be watching the situation carefully to see if the resolve and the resources they say are needed to protect the Amazon region are in place, our correspondent says.

環境保育團體會持續監督巴西政府對保育亞馬遜地區的決心和對策是不是對症下藥而且一致的。

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