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Germany to Cut Amazon Funds to Brazil

The Amazon rain forest (R), bordered by deforested land prepared for the planting of soybeans, is pictured in this aerial photo taken over Mato Grosso state in western Brazil, October 4, 2015.

Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro on Sunday said his country does not need Germany's money after Berlin said it planned to cut $40 million in aid to preserve the dwindling Amazon rainforest.

"Brazilian government policies in the Amazon raise doubts about the continued sustained declines in the rate of deforestation," German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze told German television on Saturday.

Brazil's own National Institute for Space Research reported last week that more than 2,200 square kilometers of Amazon rainforest were cleared in July for mining, farming and cattle grazing -- 278% higher than in July 2018.

Bolsonaro's administration calls the data unreliable.

The ultra-conservative Bolsonaro has been accused of favoring the country’s mining and agricultural interests over the environmental impact of deforestation.

He has said the Amazon and its resources belong to Brazil and it should be up to Brazilians to administer it.

But environmentalists have called the Amazon "the lungs of the Earth" because of its ability to help cleanse the air of greenhouse gases.

They say destroying the Amazon and other rainforests will make global warming worse and cause irreversible damage to the planet.