Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira characterized the figures as “alarming” and announced the formation of a “crisis cabinet” in response to the news. “Our objective is to reduce deforestation by July,” Teixeira said.
The new figures have taken the government by surprise, analysts say. A government report from December said Brazilian Amazon deforestation had fallen to its lowest rate in 22 years. But the new numbers show a 27 percent increase in deforestation from August 2010 to April 2011.
Some environmentalists are arguing that growing demand for soy and cattle is causing farmers to clear more land. Others say the easing of an existing law on forest production is causing it.