Analysis of new satellite data released by the Brazilian government links international soy exports to major deforestation in the Amazon and Cerrado.
Mongabay series: Amazon Agribusiness
Brazil’s president met with Donald Trump this week, with trade and agribusiness topping the agenda; a USAID $100 million Amazon biodiversity impact investment fund was also advanced.
80% of Brazilian deforestation between 2000-2014 resulted from new pasture creation, with 20% directly due to new croplands; however, land speculation drove the process.
Cargill, Bunge, ADM, Louis Dreyfus, Glencore Agriculture, and Chinese firm COFCO have agreed to reveal soy supply chain data for 25 “high risk” areas – a step toward zero deforestation.
Weakening of Brazil’s Forest Code by Congress in 2012 and by the Supreme Court in 2018 could free Amazon landowners to clear 15 million hectares of once protected forest: study.
Top ministers say ban on leasing indigenous land to agribusiness must end during PR event held at indigenous reserve where commercial GMO commodity crops are illegally grown.
“We came here to get our cattle back. Are you releasing them?” shouted Jossone Lopes Leite from horseback. The 38-year-old Cerrado rural settlement leader – joined by five community members…
An upcoming Amazon Synod at which Catholic clergy from nine Amazon nations will discuss ecological, indigenous and climate issues is seen by Brazil as international interference.
Federal litigators warn of “imminent genocide” for the Karipuna people, while at least 14 indigenous reserves have been threatened or invaded. Bolsonaro government slow to act, say critics.
Newly appointed Minister of Infrastructure Tarcísio Freitas is resolved to build new Amazon roads and railroads, but expresses limited patience for environmental or indigenous concerns.
A wave of announcements by the Bolsonaro administration threatens indigenous reserves, could worsen deforestation and bring major environmental harm: experts.
Bolsonaro has backed off from Paris withdrawal “for now,” but his actions imply emissions exceeding Brazil’s carbon cut pledge.
A Brazilian official last week announced plans to build an Amazon River bridge, Trombetas River dam, and highway thru what he called “desert-like” rainforest.
Agribusiness, well backed by government, is hailed an “economic miracle.” But family farms, with nominal help, provide 70% of the food Brazilians eat.
The Cerrado biome, covering 20 percent of Brazil, has seen rapid deforestation in the 21st century; a recent report says that much of this is driven by soy grown to feed livestock, which feeds Brazilians.
Indigenous groups, quilombolas, agrarian reform settlements, and environmentalists are all responding to the new president’s early moves which could undermine past protections.
FUNAI moved rapidly before Christmas to safeguard the isolated Kawahiva indigenous group from intruders into their territory – two weeks before Pres. Bolsonaro took office.
As Grainrail, the BR-163 and BR-319 highways, and other transport projects improve Amazon access, they attract land thieves ready to kill.
The choice of Ricardo Salles as environment minister, and many generals for top posts, leaves activists concerned over a potentially repressive, anti-democratic government.
Brazil created 11 conservation units to protect the Amazon’s Purus-Madeira moist forest from development due to the BR-319 highway, but to date the preserves mostly exist only on paper.
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