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By NBF News
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The figures suggest scenes like these are getting rarer in the Amazon

Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest has fallen to its lowest rate for 22 years, Brazil's government has said.

Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said 6,450sq km (2,490 sq miles) of forest were cleared between August 2009 and July 2010, a drop of 14% compared with the previous 12 months.

Deforestation is thought to be responsible for about 20% of CO2 emissions worldwide.

Brazil has pledged to reduce its emissions by 80% by 2020.

It has said it expects to reach the target by 2016.

Ms Teizeira described the figures as “fantastic” and said Brazil was committed to reducing deforestation still further.

Deforestation rates have been falling in Brazil since a peak in 2004, when 27,000 sq km of forest were destroyed.

But the latest figure, which represents an area more than half the size of Lebanon, still exceeds a government target for this year of 5,000 sq km, AFP news agency says.

Ms Teixeira was speaking ahead of her departure for the UN Climate Change Conference currently taking place in Cancun, Mexico.