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Amazon rainforest deforestation in Brazil at highest level in more than a decade

WATCH: What the Amazon rainforest fires tell us about deforestation

A report by a Brazilian government agency says the rate of deforestation in the Amazon rainforest is at its highest in more than a decade.

The National Institute for Space Research said Monday that deforestation between August 2018 and July 2019 reached 9,762 square kilometres (3,769 square miles), a 30 per cent increase over the previous year and the most since 2008.

READ MORE: What caused the Amazon rainforest fires and why are activists are blaming Brazil’s president?

Concern about the Amazon heightened after President Jair Bolsonaro took office in January. He advocates the loosening of protections for natural reserves and indigenous lands as a way to promote economic development.

Brazilian farmers say they’re fighting losing battle against Amazon fires
Brazilian farmers say they’re fighting losing battle against Amazon fires

Fires in the Amazon spread at a pace unseen since 2010 in July and August, then slowed in September.

READ MORE: Bolsonaro says world concern for Amazon rainforest sensationalized by ‘lying’ media

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Environment ministry officials say they will meet the Amazon region’s governors Thursday to discuss ways to reduce deforestation.