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Amazon deforestation caused extinction of 26 species

world Updated: Feb 19, 2009 12:57 IST

The deforestation in the Amazon rainforest region has led to the extinction of 26 animal and plant species, a UN report said.

Another 644 species of animals and plants, including the red faced spider monkey, the spectacled bear and the otter, were in danger of extinction, it said.

According to the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) report released on Wednesday, the region lost 17 per cent of its forest, about 857,666 sq km, nearly equal to the territory of Venezuela, by 2005.

The deforestation in the region was still going on at an accelerated pace, it noted.

Internal and external factors led to the deforestation in each of the nine countries straddling the Amazon rainforest region, the report said.

Urbanisation, exploitation of natural resources and global warming adversely affected its ecological balance, UNEP said.

The report pointed out three key factors that will influence development of the region in the future: public policies, the market, and the development of new technologies.