The destruction of the Amazon in Brazil has increased dramatically in recent years due to both forest fires and forest fires, and new data indicates that most of the country’s agricultural exports are now produced on illegally cleared land. According to a study in the journal Science, more specifically, about 20 percent of Brazil’s soybean exports and at least 17 percent of the European Union’s (EU) beef exports are “contaminated by illegal deforestation.”
The authors of the study estimate that the EU imports 41 percent of its soy products from Brazil, and receives 25 to 40 percent of its beef from South American countries. To ensure that environmentally important environmental areas are not used for agriculture, Brazilian authorities have established permanent protection (application) zones, covering about 20 percent of the country and 60 percent of the Amazon region.
Nonetheless, deforestation continues at an alarming rate in both the Amazon and Cerrado neighboring Biome. Furthermore, since it is not easy to get the exported goods back to the farms where they were produced, it is unknown exactly how much of this illegally cleared land is associated with Brazilian agriculture. To try and clear this, researchers have compiled a comprehensive set of land-use and forest maps using data that is universally available. Their analysis included a total of 815,000 rural properties, which enabled them to identify which ranches were being illegally deforested and which were producing soy and beef for export.
The results show that 45 percent of the assets at Amazon and 46 percent of the properties at Cerrado have failed to comply with applicable rules and are being harvested illegally by some default. However, the report also found that 2 percent of the race was responsible for 2 percent of illegal deforestation in the region. The study authors, therefore, called on the authorities to target these “bad apples” in order to clean up the country’s agriculture and keep its export products forest-free.
Anyway, the situation is somewhat complicated by the fact that cattle raised legally for export are often fed with soy, which is illegally farmed on clean lands, meaning that meat products may also be indirectly linked to upstream forests.
To give an idea of the global impact of all these land clearances, researchers calculated that between 2009 and 2017, deforestation for soybean cultivation for the European Union resulted in the release of 56 million metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is feared that it could derail EU efforts to reduce its own emissions, highlighting the need for global co-operation in the fight against climate change.