RIO DE JANEIRO, March 28 (Xinhua) -- The area of deforestation in Brazil's Amazon rain forest from August 2012 to February 2013 increased by 26.6 percent year-on-year, an official institute said Thursday.
According to the satellite detection system, Deter, of the National Space Research Institute (INPE), 1,695 square km of forest -- or an area larger than Sao Paulo, South America's largest city -- were destroyed in the six-month period, compared with the 1,339 square km destroyed during the same period a year ago.
The midwestern state of Mato Grosso has the largest deforested areas of 734 square km, followed by the northern states of Para with 428 square km and Rondonia with 270 square km, the institute said.
Brazil's environmental protection agency Ibama said it has stepped up patrols in the Amazon region after it was informed of the increase in deforestation.
"We have started the Green Wave operation, occupying critical areas that amount to 54 percent of the deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest region," Ibama Director Luciano de Meneses said.