Biofuel production in Brazil may not hurt Amazon, food supply
August 21, 2008
Fábio Silveira of Brazil's RC Consultores said that expansion of the current area of agricultural production could meet future demand for ethanol and biodiesel production without the need to clear more rainforest.
"It is possible to triple Brazilian ethanol production without having any impact on the price of food or threatening the Amazon rainforest," the author was quoted as saying by local media.
Silveira's comments echo those senior government officials who say that production on degraded lands could meet Brazil's agricultural goals.
Nevertheless expansion of soy and oil palm in the Amazon suggests that this environmental optimism is premature. Brazilian and Malaysian developers recently announced a plan to add 100,000 hectares of oil palm plantations near Tefe in the state of Amazonas, while the area of soy cultivation in the region continues to grow and is a key impetus for infrastructure development that drives furthe deforestation.
Climate change to hurt Brazil's farm exports by 2020
(8/11/2008) Climate change could have a significant impact on thye value of Brazil's agricultural exports according to a study presented Monday at an agribusiness conference in Sao Paulo, reports the Financial Times.
Future threats to the Amazon rainforest
(7/31/2008) Between June 2000 and June 2008, more than 150,000 square kilometers of rainforest were cleared in the Brazilian Amazon. While deforestation rates have slowed since 2004, forest loss is expected to continue for the foreseeable future. This is a look at past, current and potential future drivers of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.
Biofuels can reduce emissions, but not when grown in place of rainforests
(7/22/2008) Biofuels meant to help alleviate greenhouse gas emissions may be in fact contributing to climate change when grown on converted tropical forest lands, warns a comprehensive study published earlier this month in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Analyzing the carbon debt for biofuel crops grown in ecosystems around the world, Holly Gibbs and colleagues report that "while expansion of biofuels into productive tropical ecosystems will always lead to net carbon emissions for decades to centuries... [expansion] into degraded or already cultivated land will provide almost immediate carbon savings." The results suggest that under the right conditions, biofuels could be part of the effort to reduce humanity's carbon footprint.
Beyond high food prices, little to show for $11B/yr in biofuel support, says OECD report
(7/17/2008) Government support of biofuel production in rich countries is squandering vast amounts of amounts of money while exacerbating the global food crisis and failing to meaningfully curb greenhouse gas emissions and improve energy security, alleges a new report from the OECD, the club of industrialized nations.