Photo: Leonardo F. Freitas via flickr.
We know that cattle pastures in what once was the Amazon rainforest are now the size of Iceland. But adding to that is a Reuters report that relays the information that cattle ranchers are far outpacing soy farmers on newly deforested land:32% of New Deforested Land in Study for Cattle
That's based on a new study done by environmental groups and the soy industry (yes, potential bias alert goes off...though I have no evidence of it) which shows that of 630 sample areas of land deforested since July 2006, only 12 of them were planted with soy. That's 0.88 percent. Cattle pastures accounted for 200 of these areas (32%).
Pretty stark news, but the report also says that the remainder of the land had not yet been put to use, so we don't know if it'd be cattle pasture, just cleared by loggers, or something else. In any case, it's bad—though who to blame isn't clear.
Brazil Soy Ban Seen as Effective
Last July Brazil (the world's second largest soy exporter) agreed not to trade soy from deforested areas, but that doesn't prevent farmers from planting soy and selling it illegally on the spot market. Nonetheless, this governmental policy is cited as helping stop the spread of soy farms into large areas of deforested land.
Cattle Pastures in Deforested Amazon Now the Size of Iceland
Brazil Announces Plan to Slow Amazon Deforestation by 70%
Soybean Ban From Deforested Areas Enacted in Brazil
Hackers Help the Hacking Down of the Amazon Rainforest