Brazil says that deforestation in the vast Amazon rain forest has dropped 18 percent over the past 12 months — falling to the second-lowest level in a quarter century.
Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said at a Wednesday news conference that 4,848 square kilometers (1,870 square miles) of rain forest were destroyed between August 2013 and July 2014. That was down from 5,891 square kilometers (2,275 square miles) registered the year earlier.
Brazil began using satellites to monitor the region in 1988. The lowest recorded deforestation figure since then came in 2012: 4,571 square kilometers (1,765 square miles).
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Brazil has committed itself to reduce deforestation to 3,900 square kilometers (1,506 square miles) a year by 2020.