Published: Thursday 15 November 2001

Amazon, one of the world's remaining wilderness areas, is about to get a long-awaited aerial monitoring system for protecting it against illegal exploitation. In the next few months a us $1.3 billion Amazon surveillance system (Sivam) will be up and running, monitoring meteorological data and aerial activity over an area the size of Europe. Paulo Esteves, Sivam's director of communications, says the system will, for the first time, allow Brazil to control what happens on its remote rainforest frontier. Under Sivam, 20 radar stations will be set up that will give the Brazilian Amazon, which makes almost three-quarters of the total Amazon area, blanket coverage.

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