Greenpeace: 'Planned legislation hastens deforestation'

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Deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest has increased almost six fold, new data suggests.

Satellite images show deforestation increased from 103 sq km in March and April 2010 to 593 sq km (229 sq miles) in the same period of 2011, Brazil's space research institute says.

Paolo Adario of Greenpeace Brazil told the BBC World Service that the increase is linked to months of debate over reform of the Brazilian Forest Code, due to be voted on in the Brazilian Congress next week.

"This new legislation will include an amnesty for every deforestation that has happened in Brazil since the Portuguese arrived here since the 1500s," Mr Adario said.

He said the planned new rules were "a disaster", because agribusiness and farmers had been "in a rush" to claim land and have their farms registered before the new legislation comes into effect.

Mr Adario also told the BBC that his organisation expects the jump in deforestation was actually higher than the 27% reported by the space institute.

He said the figure did not include cleared areas smaller than 25 hectares, although the deforestation of such smaller areas was "growing very fast".

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