A Brazilian government department faces criminal charges after being named as the worst illegal logger by the country’s environment ministry.

The Institute of Colonisation and Agrarian Reform (INCRA) has topped the of a list of the 100 worst offenders, with environment minister Carlos Minc saying the six largest areas of deforestation since 2005 all belonged to INCRA. It is thought around 220,000ha has been illegal felled in these areas.

The environment ministry said it plans to charge all 100 names on the list, including INCRA, after the National Institute for Space Research (INPE) recorded an increase of 530km² in Amazon deforestation to 760km² during August, compared with the same month last year.

INPE has also said its Deforestation Detection in Real Time system recorded 8,147km² of new deforestation in the Amazon over the year from August 2007, a 69% increase in shallow cut and progressive degradation on the previous year.

In August 2007, then environment minister Marina Silva promised an investigation into accusations by Greenpeace that INCRA was increasing rainforest deforestation by allowing logging companies to fell areas assigned for land settlements instead of using already deforested areas.