Exaggerated losses

Published: Sunday 15 August 1993

ANALYSIS of satellite imagery publicised in June has cheered environmentalists because it shows Brazil's Amazon forests are being cleared at a much slower rate than had been widely estimated.

David Skole of the University of New Hampshire and Compton Tucker of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Centre in the US found the forests are being cleared at a rate of 14,848 square kilometres a year. This showed "estimates made in the past five years have been very high, four-fold too high in the case of one estimate".

The new research, however, suggests the pattern of deforestation has had a more detrimental effect on biodiversity than previously estimated.

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