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Fri Apr 10, 2020, 03:45 PM

Illegal loggers uncowed by coronavirus as deforestation rises in Brazil

by Reuters
Friday, 10 April 2020 14:15 GMT

By Jake Spring

BRASILIA, April 10 (Reuters) - Deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rainforest rose in March, government data showed on Friday, indicating that illegal loggers and land speculators have not stopped destroying the forest with the onset of the coronavirus outbreak.

Destruction in Brazil's portion of the Amazon rose 30% in March, compared to the same month a year ago, according to the country's space research agency, INPE.

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In the first three months of the year, Amazon deforestation was up 51% from a year ago to 796 square kilometers (307 square miles), an area roughly the size of New York City.

Brazil confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus on Feb. 28, and the disease reached the Amazon region by mid-March. Authorities in Amazonas, the largest state in the rainforest region, warned on Wednesday that the health system there was already at the brink of capacity with roughly 900 confirmed cases of the virus.


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