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Deforestation in the Amazon

Amazon Basin

Amazon Basin

Between May 2000 and August 2006, Brazil

lost nearly 150,000 square kilometers of forest—an area larger than Greece—and since 1970, over 600,000 square kilometers (232,000 square miles) of Amazon rainforest have been destroyed. Why is Brazil losing so much forest? What can be done to slow deforestation?

Why is the Brazilian Amazon being Destroyed?

In many tropical countries, the majority of deforestation results from the actions of poor subsistence cultivators. However, in Brazil only about one-third of recent deforestation can be linked to “shifted” cultivators. Historically a large portion of deforestation in Brazil can be attributed to land clearing for pastureland by commercial and speculative interests, misguided government policies, inappropriate World Bank projects, and commercial exploitation of forest resources. For effective action it is imperative that these issues be addressed. Focusing solely on the promotion of sustainable use by local people would neglect the most important forces behind deforestation in Brazil.
Brazilian deforestation is strongly correlated to the economic health of the country: the decline in deforestation from 1988-1991 nicely matched the economic slowdown during the same period, while the rocketing rate of deforestation from 1993-1998 paralleled Brazil’s period of rapid economic growth. During lean times, ranchers and developers do not have the cash to rapidly expand their pasturelands and operations, while the government lacks funds to sponsor highways and colonization programs and grant tax breaks and subsidies to forest exploiters.

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Water Scarcity

Dried Lake

Dried Lake

1.1 BILLION PEOPLE on the planet don’t have access to safe clean drinking water.
That’s 1 in 6 of us.

19,737 LITRES of water are needed to produce 1 pound of BEEF.
This is enough water to take a 7 minute shower every day for an entire year.

Water Usage

Water Usage

Water Inputs in California Food Production(Chart E3 P.28, PDF)


Written by

September 22nd, 2008 at 12:41 am


Each second, an area of tropical rain forest the size of a football field is destroyed to produce 257 hamburgers.*

In the next 24 hours, deforestation releases as much CO2 into the atmosphere as 8 million people flying from London to New York.

The average car produces 3 kg/day of CO2.

Clearing rain forest to produce beef for one hamburger produces 75 kg of CO2.

Livestock production is responsible for 90% of the Amazon deforestation since 1970 to clear land for pasture and feed crops.

*This produces an astonishing 19,275 kg of CO2 per second.

Eating Up the Amazon(p.5, p.44, PDF)
(Green Peace)
Livestock, Development & Deforestation Brazil's Amazon
(Center for International Forestry Research)
Meat is NOT Green

Written by

September 22nd, 2008 at 12:33 am