CO2 emissions from Amazonia deforestation drop 16 percent this year

Carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere as a result of Amazon deforestation dropped to 352 million tons this year, or 16 percent less than in 2011, Brazil’s state-run National Space Research Institute, or INPE, said.

In a communique Friday, the organization said that the calculation of emissions data was based on an analysis by the Legal Deforestation of the Amazon Observation Project, or Prodes, which estimates the area of jungle cleared between August 2011 and July this year as 4,665 sq. kilometers (1,800 sq. miles).

The deforested area is three times greater than Sao Paulo, the largest urban area in Brazil.

Current emission values similarly reveal a 64-percent reduction from those in 2004, when almost 28,000 sq. kilometers (10,800 sq. miles) of the Amazon region were deforested.

According to INPE, half the expanse of forest is composed of carbon, which enters the atmosphere in the form of CO2 when timber is burned, trees are cut down and nature is altered in other ways.

The speed with which CO2 is transferred to the atmosphere is related to the volume of logging and abusive farming practices, among other factors.