"Deforestation in the Amazon rain forest dropped 18% over the past 12 months, falling to the second-lowest level in a quarter century, Brazil’s environment minister said on Wednesday.
Izabella Teixeira told participants at a news conference that 4,848 square kilometers (1,870 square miles) of rain forest were destroyed between August 2013 and July 2014. That’s a bit larger than the US state of Rhode Island.
The figures were down from 5,891 square kilometers (2,275 square miles) razed during the same period a year earlier, in the wake of the adoption of a controversial bill revising the Forest Code. The measure, which passed in 2012 after more than a decade-long effort by Brazil’s powerful agricultural lobby, mostly eased restrictions for landowners with smaller properties, allowing them to clear land closer to riverbanks."