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DATE: May 27, 2019

SNIP: A non-governmental group that has monitored the Amazon rainforest for two decades said Monday that the pace of deforestation increased 20 per cent in the last nine months.

Imazon said satellite imagery showed the region lost 2,169 square kilometres of forest from August through April, up from 1,807 square kilometres lost over the same period the previous year.

The group’s monitoring year begins with August, to match Brazil’s dry season, when logging rates are usually at their highest.

Analysts blame uncontrolled logging and land invasion for much of the loss, some of which occurred in protected areas and Indigenous reserves.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and his environment minister have questioned the reality of climate change and spoken in favour of expanding mining and industrial farming, including in the Amazon and protected areas. Both believe environmental laws and activist groups often work to hinder Brazil’s economic potential.