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By Sarah de Sainte Croix, Senior Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A government report released yesterday has disproved the commonly held belief that Amazonian deforestation is largely down to agriculture, principally the cultivation of soybeans and oil palms. The report, which was financed by The World Bank, shows that the biggest culprit is cattle ranches, responsible for a massive 62 percent of the 719,200 square kilometers (277 square miles) that have been deforested in the region, compared with just five percent attributed to agriculture.

Gilberto Câmara, director of the National Institute for Spatial Reseach (Subscribe to our Premium Membership Plan. Already Subscribed?