Cattle walk on a tract of Amazon rainforest that has been cleared by loggers and farmers near the city of Novo Progresso, Para State, Brazil, July 2, 2013. REUTERS/Nacho Doce

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Germany and Britain will provide a combined $153 million to expand programs to fight climate change and deforestation in the Amazon rainforest, according to a statement from the Brazilian government on Tuesday.
Roughly $88 million will go to a program in two Brazilian states that pays indigenous peoples and farmers in exchange for maintaining forest cover. It also provides funding for related sustainable economic development projects.
For the first time, the program will grow to include the state of Mato Grosso, Brazil’s top producer of soy beans, where the rapid expansion of soy and beef farms have made it a hotspot for deforestation. The money will pay to continue the program already underway in the far western state of Acre.
Brazil is home to much of the Amazon, the world’s largest rainforest, the preservation of which is seen as essential for the absorption of carbon emissions …