Amazon clearing 'at a 22-year low'

Brazil's government has claimed deforestation in the Amazon rain forest has dropped to its slowest pace in 22 years.

Environment minister Izabella Teixeira said satellite imagery from the National Institute for Space Research showed 2,490 square miles of the Amazon was deforested between August 2009 and July 2010, a 14 per cent drop from a year earlier.

The institute said the area deforested is the smallest since 1988.

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Ms Teixeira said it was "the lowest deforestation level in the history of the Amazon and we are committed to (lowering it]."

The government credits better enforcement of environmental laws for the slowdown.