9 October 2014
Cattle ranchers that drive the vast majority of forest clearing in the Brazilian Amazon are unlikely to be held at bay indefinitely unless they are afforded new incentives for keeping trees standing, argues new analysis published by an economic research group. The findings suggest that Brazil's recent progress in reducing deforestation — annual forest loss in the region has dropped by roughly 80 percent since 2004 — could easily be reversed.
The study, which was carried out by Datu Research on behalf of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), looked at the costs of recent efforts to curb deforestation for cattle production. Datu found that ranchers bear the heaviest costs of zero deforestation commitments established by Brazil's largest meat processing companies — JBS, Marfrig, and Minerva — which control nearly two-fifths of the country's cattle market. Deforestation for cattle production remains a much cheaper option than sound pasture management.
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