The link between cattle-ranching, soy and deforestation

Where big businesses collide

Soy cultivation, mostly in the Brazilian states of Pará, Mato Grosso and Tocantins, has been carried out in areas initially cleared for cattle production or subsistence farming.1
One of the reasons why cattle-ranching has expanded and Brazil’s beef exports have soared is because of the devaluation of the Brazilian currency. This has made Brazil’s exports more competitive abroad, thus creating incentives for ranchers to expand their pastures.2

Cattle-ranching is also popular because of the low production costs and land-tenure policies that promote forest clearance rather than sustainable forest management.3

Forest clearance for cattle pasture has also been a cheap and effective way to keep possession of investments in land.4 Often, land ownership can be claimed not by a proof of property, but simply by physical occupation.5



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1Margulis, S. 2003. Causas do Desmatamento da Amazônia Brasileira. World Bank, Brasilia.
2Kaimowitz, D. et al. 2004. Hamburger Connection Fuels Amazon Destruction: Cattle ranching and deforestation in Brazil's Amazon. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor.
3Kaimowitz, D.1996. Livestock and Deforestation: Central America in the 1980s and 1990s. A Policy Perspective. Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Jakarta.
4Goudie (Ed.) 2001. Encyclopedia of Global Change. Environmental Change and Human Society.
5Brazilian Forum of NGOs and Social Movements for the Environment and Development. Forests Work Group. 2005. Relation between expansion of soy plantations and deforestation – Understanding the dynamics.Executive Summary.

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