Brazil will file charges against 81 people accused of being the biggest destroyers of the Amazon rainforest, reports the Associated Press.
Environment Minister Carlos Minc said those convicted of crimes — including land-clearing inside reserves and other protected areas — will be fined and required to replant deforested areas. Overall the accused face $99 million in fines.
Minc said the majority of those charged are large-scale soy farmers and cattle ranchers. Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is increasingly driven by corporate interests and large landowners, rather than poor subsistence farmers.
Deforestation for the 2007-2008 year increased for the first time since 2004. Analysts have blamed record high commodity prices for the increase.