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Brazil soy trade linked to widespread deforestation, carbon emissions

03 / 04 / 2019, Mongabaycom News

A clear demarcation between Amazon rainforest and soy plantation. Image by Rhett A. Butler / Mongabay More than 17,000 square kilometers (6,500 square miles) of the Brazilian Cerrado biome’s native vegetation has been cleared for soy plantations in the last 11 years, according to an analysis conducted by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and Global Canopy – two international NGOs. The Cerrado biome – a rich patchwork of forest, savanna and grassland originally covering 2 million square kilometers (790,000 square miles) in central and northeast Brazil – is home to roughly 5 percent of the world’s biodiversity. But in recent decades, the region has also been at the heart of the world’s biggest agribusiness boom, and has lost roughly half of its original native vegetation as a result. Data released by Brazil’s Ministry of Environment (MMA) and the Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications (MCTIC) as part of their Prodes satellite deforestation monitoring program shows that 220,000 square kilometers (85,000 square miles) of native Amazon and Cerrado vegetation were cleared in Brazil between 2006 and 2017. During that time, the Cerrado experienced almost twice the deforestation rate of the Amazon, despite being less than half the size. Brazil soy production change in agricultural cropland in the Amazon and Cerrado between 2006 and 2017. Image courtesy of Andrew Feierman An analysis of the latest Prodes data using the Transparency for Sustainable Economies (Trase) platform – jointly developed by SEI and Global Canopy in 2016 – found that around 10 percent of that…

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