Amazon clearance for agriculture is ’economic own goal’ for Brazil | Environment | guardian.co.uk
Brazil is at risk of scoring an economic own goal if it continues clearing Amazon forest for herding and soya production, according to a new study that has potential implications for global food security.
In recent decades, the conversion of vast tracts of the Amazon into pastures and farm fields has boosted the national economy and played a major role in meeting rising world demand for beef and grain, particularly soyabeans – for which Brazil overtook the US this year as the number one supplier.
But researchers say the economic and agricultural gains are in danger of slipping into reverse because the loss of forest is reducing rainfall, raising temperatures and causing other malign feedbacks on the regional climate.
“The more agriculture expands in the Amazon, the less productive it will become … In this situation, we all lose,” warns the paper by Brazilian and US scientists that is published on Friday in the journal Environmental Research Letters.