Industrial agriculture tearing up Brazil's Cerrado – and its carbon

10 November 2014

PALMAS, Brazil – South and east of Brazil's famous Amazon, the air becomes dryer and the humid rainforest gives way to emerald green patches of irrigated pasture carved from scrubby woods and native grasslands.

This is a different kind of forest, hidden in plain sight and far more threatened than the Amazon. Known as the Cerrado, it is the largest, most biologically diverse savannah region of South America, home to 5 percent of all life on the planet.

But industrial farming is fast swallowing this unique landscape. And its rapid transformation is creating a ticking carbon bomb that scientists warn could significantly affect the global carbon cycle if the current rate of destruction continues.

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