Large-Scale Soy Farming Pushing Cattle Ranchers Deeper Into Amazon

photo: Jeff Belmonte/Creative Commons via flickr.

Ah the tangled web... Report after report has detailed how both the beef and the leather industries have been major causes on deforestation in Brazil. There have even been ones showing how cattle ranching has overtaken soy as a driver of deforestation. Well, not so fast. Mongabay points out a new article in Environmental Research Letters which shows that soy cultivation may not itself be increasing deforestation, but it is displacing cattle ranchers, who just move elsewhere and clear forest.The report looked at soy and cattle dynamics in the states of Mato Grosso and Para from 2000-2006 and found:


Deforestation shifted 39 km to the northeast during the period, while pasture shifted 87 km to the northwest, from northeastern Mato Grosso to southwestern Para, and soybeans moved 82 km to the northeast, from southern to northeastern Mato Grosso. The researchers also noted that soybean expansion was accompanied by a decline in pasture area in many municipalities in Mato Grosso, lending support to the argument that "decreases in pasture in Mato Grosso owing to soybean expansion may have been compensated by increases in pasture elsewhere in northern Mato Grosso, Para and Rondônia causing some deforestation indirectly.

Read the original report: The role of pasture and soybean in deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon
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More on the Deforestation:
New Cattle Pastures Far Bigger Problem Than Soy For Amazon Deforestation
Cattle Pastures in Deforested Amazon Now the Size of Iceland
Global Shoe Brands May Be Unwittingly Causing Deforestation in the Amazon

Tags: Amazonia | Brazil | Deforestation | Farming