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.

Cattle farming Amazon deforestation, Brazil, News
Cattle farming has been found to be responsible for 62 percent of Amazon deforestation, photo by A.C. Moraes/Flickr Creative Commons License.

Gilberto Câmara, director of the National Institute for Spatial Reseach (INPE), denies the argument touted by some Amazonian farmers that deforestation is necessary so that communities can practice agriculture in order to survive.

He pointed out, “Agriculture is not an important factor in deforestation, it’s responsible for only a marginal amount…. It’s not true to say that the forest restricts agriculture”.

The study also showed that 21 percent of the deforested land had already begun to revert to it’s natural state, showing signs of a regeneration of the native flora.

The report coincides with a recent surge in deforestation rates in the Amazon, which some argue has happened in response to the the government’s recent Forestry Bill proposal, which could relax the rules for landowners who have taken part in illegal deforestation.

Read more (in Portuguese).

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  1. I do hope the government of Brazil will think twice before they will favor ( or did it alraedy happened) the recent Forestry Bill proposal. I visited Brazil two time, the last time recently this summer. Brazil is a beautiful country with a beautiful nature and Rainforests. I hope Brazil will protect the Rainforest for the Worlds sake, and care for our Mother Nature again. What will become of Mother Nature when we continue to destroy beautiful nature and its habitat, only to have more money.
    The same in Indonesia is happening,so less forests and less animals because of the interest for money. And less fresh air and less green world and much consequences. Hey, we live in a Global World, if Mother Nature is being destroyed, we all suffer on this Planet.

    Brazil is such a beautiful country, I hope the Brazilian Government will vote in favor
    for Mother Nature, for respect to our environment, for respect for the Rainforests and its habitat, for the sake of our World we live on.
    We have only one, if we destroy it there is not way back!


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