Preliminary data from the Brazilian government shows that deforestation in the Amazon has declined 23% in the past year, down to 6,238 square kilometers (2,443 square miles). This is the fourth year in a row that deforestation has dropped.
Nature's news blog cautions that more detailed analysis of last year's data showed that deforestation was substantially higher than the preliminary estimates.They also note some troubling signs in Amazonia:
A backlash among rural and agricultural interests has already spurred the Brazilian Congress to scale back the country’s forestry law. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff vetoed the most extreme pieces of that legislation in May, but the battle goes on. And although Rousseff has so far maintained Brazil’s pledge on deforestation, environmentalists have criticized her administration for, among other things, ignoring environmental and social concerns in a larger push to develop the Amazon (for the latest on that, see our post on a new government regulation that would give the government carte blanche to act in the name of national security).