Deforestation in the Amazon is at its lowest rate since data on the matter began, according to a study from Brazil's National Institute for Space Research reported by The Guardian.

Using satellite imagery, the institute reported that 1.6 million acres of forest was cut down in the 12 months prior to July 31, 2011, making it the lowest such reading since measurements began in 1988. According to these numbers, since peaking in 2004, deforestation in the Amazon, the world's largest rainforest, has declined 75 percent.

This reduction is impressive; it is the result of changes in society, but it also stems from the political decision to inspect, as well as from punitive action by government agencies

- Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, who recently came under fire for allegedly weakening Brazil's forest-protection laws and pardoning illegal deforesters.

Advancing forest management technology and economic factors were credited for the decline in deforestation. "The rise in the value of the Brazilian currency and the fall of soya and beef prices in the wake of the 2008 global financial crisis eroded the incentive for land clearance for agricultural exports," The Guardian wrote. In addition, the Brazilian government launched a vast anti-crime operation in the Amazon.