A HUGE inventory of the Amazon rainforest will take place over the next four years, the Brazilian government's Forestry Ministry said.

The census will provide detailed data on species, soils and biodiversity. A similar study was last carried out 30 years ago.

Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said it would help formulate policies. She said: "We'll discover species, and gain knowledge about species becoming extinct, as well as information about the distribution of the forest and its potential economic use."

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