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Learning English - Words in the News
29 September, 2008 - Published 10:49 GMT
Amazon deforestation
Deforestation of the Amazon rain forest in Brazil

The Brazilian environment minister has promised to publish today the names of the 100 people responsible for the largest acts of illegal deforestation in the Amazon. He promises to step up action to prevent destruction of the world's largest tropical forest. Here's Tim Hirsch:

Listen to the story

It's more than eight months since the Brazilian government announced a package of measures to combat deforestation, after satellite observations showed the rate of destruction in the Amazon was picking up again. So far, there's been little evidence of a slowdown, despite a string of raids on illegal sawmills and moves to cut off credit to farmers operating outside the law.

The latest initiative concentrates on the impunity with which illegal deforestation is still carried out in Brazil, according to the government's own account. The environment minister Carlos Minc reckons that only one in ten offenders is prosecuted and fewer than one in 200 convicted in the courts.

As well as naming the top 100 deforesters, Mr Minc is planning to set up a task force with the prosecuting authorities and environmental enforcement agencies, to ensure that more are brought to justice. He's also promised to step up efforts to bring greater legality to farming and forestry activities in the regions of the Amazon where most deforestation has taken place.

Tim Hirsch, BBC News, Sao Paulo

Listen to the words

a package of measures to combat deforestation
a number of specifically designed, co-ordinated actions aimed at slowing down the destruction of forests by people

picking up
growing, becoming faster and more intense

a string
here, a number, a series

factories where wood is sawed into planks or boards

moves to cut off credit
steps/measures to stop someone getting money

outside the law
illegally, unlawfully

absence of punishment, no unpleasant consequences

to set up a task force
to form, or found an organised group of people who will work to achieve a common goal (here, to punish illegal farmers and, as a result, to stop deforestation)

brought to justice
found and punished for their illegal actions

to step up efforts
to do more

To take away:
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