Brazilian government says Amazon deforestation down sharply in June, continuing recent trend

SAO PAULO (AP) — Brazil's government says the rate of deforestation in the Amazon fell significantly in June, continuing recent trends.

The National Institute for Space Research says satellite imagery shows nearly 95 square miles (244 square kilometers) were destroyed in June. The amount of forest lost was down 58 percent from the same month in 2009. For the 11 months through June, deforestation was 49 percent below the losses during the same period a year earlier.

The government credits better enforcement of environmental laws for slowing deforestation. But environmental groups say the global financial crisis has only temporarily lowered demand for goods such as wood and cattle.