Using satellite imagery, the institute said 6,418 sq km of Amazon forest was stripped in the 12 months before 31 July 2011 – the smallest area since annual measurements started in 1988.
The data continues an encouraging trend. Since the peak deforestation year of 2004, the rates of clearance have fallen by almost 75%.
“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,” President Dilma Rousseff said.
She was speaking at a ceremony on Tuesday to mark the opening of two new nature reserves: the 34,000-hectare (83,980 acres) Bom Jesus Biological Reserve in Paraná, and the 8,500-hectare (20,995 acres) Furna Feia National Park in Rio Grande do Norte.
To mark World Environment Day, the Brazilian president also signed a number of other measures to expand existing parks, protect areas of biodiversity and recognise the land rights of indigenous communities.
For more on this story, visit: Amazon deforestation at record low, data shows | Environment | guardian.co.uk.