Although deforestation in Brazil and surrounding Amazon nations continues to be a problem, deforestation rates in Brazil fell this year to a lower level than they have ever been since dependable record keeping began in 1988. Part of this decline can be attributed to the Brazilian government’s recent efforts to eliminate incentives for clearing forest, and to enforce protections for the Amazon. The worldwide economic downturn can also be partly credited with contributing to the decline, as deforestation rates in Brazil have historically tended to coincide with periods of rapid economic growth. To really ensure a permanently healthy Amazon ecosystem, Brazil will probably have to re-structure its forest policy enough that economic growth no longer contributes to a loss of forest. However, the decline in deforestation this year is an encouraging sign that the Amazon can be preserved for future generations.
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