- BELEM, BRAZIL - Researchers have uncovered some disturbing news about the
destruction of Brazil's Amazon rainforest. A new study suggests 15,000
square kilometres are disappearing every year -- twice the annual damage
- The researchers found that the most common
method of gauging deforestation --using satellite photos-- is flawed.
Distant satellite don't pick up the loss of trees from selective logging;
nor do they notice areas of damage from forest fires, which can appear
healthy due to early new growth when viewed from above.
- When airplane surveys and on-the-ground
interviews were used instead of satellite images, the damage was found
to be at least twice the official, satellite-based estimate.
- The findings come from the Woods Hole
Research Center in Massachusetts, and the Institute of Environmental Research
in Belem, Brazil. Their study was published in Thursday's issue of the
- The official Brazilian estimate of the
amount of the original rain forest that has been spoiled over the years
is 13 per cent. This latest study estimates the number is closer to 16
- The Amazon rainforest is thought of as
the "lungs of the Earth" because it filters so much of the planet's
carbon dioxide gases. It is also home to about a third of the world's plant
and animal species.