How is the world’s greatest rainforest faring? It very much depends where you look…

In the Brazilian Amazon, the rate of forest destruction has plummeted to historic lows. For example, last year the deforestation rate was only about a quarter of what it was in the 1990s and early-mid 2000s, when 2-3 million hectares of forest were being felled each year — comparable to a country the size of Belgium.

And this year the news is even better. The current rate of deforestation in Brazilian Amazonia is 18% lower than it was last year.

Long-term Amazon watchers can scarcely believe it. The falling deforestation rate in Brazil is being chalked up to better enforcement of environmental laws, new protected areas, a moratorium on forest clearing for soy, and an important role for indigenous lands in limiting forest loss.

International carbon funds — led by Norway’s contribution of up to $1 billion to Brazil — have also helped.

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