Amazon deforestation linked with soya and beef production

Emerging research suggests that nearly 20 percent of Brazil’s soya exports to the European Union could be linked with illegal deforestation.
calendar icon 20 July 2020
clock icon 1 minute read

Using freely available data and maps, researchers identified specific farms and ranches that were clearing forests in Brazil. The farms were producing beef and soya for export.

The researchers found that 2 percent of farm operations were responsible for 62 percent of illegal deforestation. They reported that these bad actors have global environmental consequences.

Speaking to the BBC, Professor Raoni Rajão, of the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil, said it was up to the country's political and economic leaders to root out "the bad apples in the soy and beef sectors".

"Brazil has the information it needs to take swift and decisive action against these rule-breakers to ensure that its exports are deforestation-free," he said.

Other reports from NGOs and investigative journalists have revealed cases of beef and soya being produced in areas of illegal deforestation. Those have also been destined for export markets.

According to the BBC, this is the first study to link property-level illegal deforestation with export data.

The study, published in the journal Science, estimates that roughly 20 percent of soya exports and over 17 percent of beef exports to the EU may be, “contaminated with illegal deforestation”.

Read more about this story on the BBC.

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