Presidential decree protects Brazil rain forest

BRASILIA, Brazil (AP) -- Brazil's president has signed a decree aimed at recovering and protecting devastate rain forest along Brazil's Atlantic coast.

Environment Minister Carlos Minc says the government hopes to restore 20 percent of the forest's original cover.

Only about 7 percent of Brazil's coastal rain forest remains standing. It once covered more than 500,000 square miles (1.3 million square kms).

The decree signed by Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva Friday provides financial incentives for local residents to protect and recover forest through green businesses.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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