Official: Guyana boosts monitoring of forests

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana (AP) — Guyana is boosting surveillance of activities in its remote interior to curb illegal deforestation.

Officials say the clearing of lush Amazonian jungles in the South American nation appears to be increasing over the past year due in large part to an ongoing boom in gold mining.

On Monday, Environment Minister Robert Persaud said Guyana will use satellite imagery and military and civilian planes to monitor jungles. The ministry is also increasing the number of field stations in the interior.

Guyana is a regional leader in environmental protection. Some 75 percent of its land mass is covered in forests.

But it fears jeopardizing a 2009 deal it struck with Norway, which pledged a $250 million grant as incentive for Guyana to protect its forests and ensure sustainable mining.

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