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15/11/2013 10:58 GMT | Updated 23/01/2014 18:58 GMT

Deforestation In Amazon Up By 28% This Year

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Deforestation in Amazon increased by 28% this year, shocking new satellite data has revealed.

High-resolution maps released by Google show how global forests experienced an overall loss of 1.5 million sq km during 2000-2012 - a loss of forested land equal in size to the entire state of Alaska.

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The increased rate of deforestation in the area - which covers a zone as large as Western Europe - is viewed as a matter of grave concern by activists including Greenpeace.

A new interactive online map, created by the University of Maryland, shows areas of global forest loss and gain from 2000 to 2012.

The government is working to reverse this "crime", Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said.

Activists have blamed the increase in destruction on a controversial reform to Brazil's forest protection law.

"You can't argue with numbers," said Marcio Astrini, coordinator for the Amazon campaign at Greenpeace, the environmentalist group.

"This is not alarmist - it's a real and measured inversion of what had been a positive trend."

Last year Brazil reported the lowest rate of deforestation in the Amazon since monitoring began.

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