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Amazon Deforestation Rises Sharply in 2007

The Brazilian government says deforestation of the Amazon surged during the last five months of 2007.

The report, issued Wednesday, says that between August and December of last year more than 3,000 square kilometers of the world's largest rain forest were cleared. Environment ministry officials say that number may be higher after they analyze satellite images with a higher resolution.

Brazil's environment minister, Marina Silva, and other ministers are meeting with President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Thursday to discuss how to curb deforestation.

Land in the Amazon is cleared to provide pasture for cattle, and later soy farmers move in to cultivate their crops.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.