Amazon destruction accelerating
By Steve Kingstone
BBC News, Brazil
The Amazon rainforest is being destroyed at near record levels, according to new figures released by the Brazilian government.
The environment ministry said 26,000 sq km of forest were chopped down in the 12 months prior to August 2004.
The figure is the second highest on record, 6% higher than the previous 12 months.
Deforestation was worst in the state of Mato Grosso where vast swathes of land have been cleared to grow crops.
The loss of 26,000 sq km means almost a fifth of the entire Amazon has now been chopped down.