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Brazil Creates Protected Amazon Zone Twice The Size Of Belgium

Emvisat image of the Amazon Region.
by Staff Writers
Brasilia, Brazil (AFP) Feb 14, 2006
Brazil has designated an area twice the size of Belgium as an environmentally-protected zone in its Amazon region, the government announced Tuesday.

A 64,000-square-kilometer area was added with the creation of seven new conservation areas and the growth of the Amazon National Park in the northern state of Para.

The zone was created after President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva signed a decree Monday before environmental groups.

An Amazon road project provoked in some areas a "500 percent rise in deforestation, in addition to increased land occupations, the rise of assassinations of farmers, and the expulsion of indigenous populations," the government said.

The international environmental group Greenpeace noted that the protected area was twice the size of Belgium (about 30,500 square kilometers).

Last year, Lula signed a decree provisionally protecting an area of 82,000 square kilometers.

"The Lula government made a great contribution to the protection and sustainable use of the precious Amazon heritage, wich is seriously threatened by the road project and the expansion of agribusiness," said Greenpeace official Paulo Adario.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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