Science News

Worrying News for the Amazon

Sun, 27th Jan 2002

Part of the show How Dolphins, Whales and other Marine Mammals Communicate

American and Brazilian scientists announced this week that the Amazon forest is being destroyed faster than ever. They studied detailed satellite images of the Amazon taken since 1978 and found that the rate at which the forest is being cut down has risen sharply. According to William Laurence, one of the researchers, almost 2 million hectares of forest are now being cut down every year, that's equivalent to an area the size of 7 football fields every MINUTE. These results are worrying because the Brazilian government plans to invest about $40 billion building roads, railways, hydroelectric projects, power and gas lines through the forest, many of which will penetrate the still pristine heart of the Amazon. Environmentalists are concerned that providing easy access to the forest will speed up deforestation with catastrophic results.

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