Brazil continues deforesting jungle for soy

In 2006, several companies agreed not to buy soybeans grown in Brazil on land cleared for agriculture by clearing forests. In the following decade, however, deforestation in the Amazon rainforest decreased by only 1.6% with protected forests covering just 2,300 square kilometers.

That’s barely the size of Oxfordshire in the UK. Meanwhile, large tracts of forest were lost to logging during the same period, notes an international team of scientists from the University of Cambridge, Boston University, ETH Zurich and New York University in a report. new study .

Worse, these zero deforestation commitments have not been effectively adopted in Brazil’s tropical savannah called the Cerrado, leaving more than half of the forests suitable for soybeans and its rich biodiversity unprotected, the researchers say.

A moratorium on soy was the first voluntary commitment to zero deforestation in the tropics, and companies that signed it agreed not to buy soy produced on land obtained through deforestation after 2006. As of last year, at least 94 companies from food adopted commitments of zero deforestation committing to remove crops produced through deforestation from their supply chains.

However, these commitments have been poorly implemented, while many small and medium-sized food companies have yet to commit in the first place, scientists say. Furthermore, while the commitment was implemented in the Brazilian Amazon, most Brazilian soy is produced in the Cerrado, which is equally rich in biodiversity.

Soybeans and cattle destroy the jungle

The result is that Brazil’s biodiverse forested areas continue to be cleared to raise cattle and grow crops such as soybeans. With increasing global demand for soybeans, an estimated 4,800 square kilometers of rainforest is cleared each year just to grow this crop for food and animal feed.

Soybeans also account for about 27% of the world’s vegetable oil production and are a key part of many vegetarian and vegan diets, the scientists note.

“Zero deforestation commitments are a great first step, but they need to be put in place to have an effect on forests, and right now it’s mostly the largest companies that have the resources to do it,” says Rachael Garrett, a conservation professor. and development. at the Cambridge University Conservation Research Institute.

“If soybean traders really implement their global commitments to deforestation-free production, current levels of forest clearing in Brazil could be reduced by around 40%,” Garrett stresses.

The researchers say their findings indicate that private sector efforts are not enough to stop deforestation and that the government must also play a vital role in conservation.

“Supply chain governance should not be a substitute for state-led forestry policies, which are critical to enable zero deforestation monitoring and enforcement, have better potential to cover different crops, land users and regions,” says Garrett.

By Sustainability Times. Article in English

Brazil continues deforesting jungle for soy –