Deforestation in the Amazon until the mid 20th century was the result of farmers clearing the forest to make way for crops to feed their families and to sell them locally. Later as industrialized farming began to spread Amazon has seen the biggest annual loss of forest area from the 70s until today. By the mid-2000s cattle ranching was so profitable that three-quarter of the forest clearing was done to have space for cattle grazing and to grow crops to feed them. This trend is driven by large scale farming that seeks profits outside of the borders of Brazil. The country is now the biggest exporter of beef.
Brazil, The World’s Biggest Beef Exporter
Brazil had to clear vast amounts of the Amazon to make way for cattle farming and to become the largest beef exporter. The trend of deforestation continues as the surge for beef around the world is still increasing. Unless the trend changes it’s unlikely that the rapid deforestation in Amazon would stop.
The Top Beef Exporters in the World in 2018:
- 1. Brazil – 2,025,000 Tonnes / 19.33% share of the beef export in the world
- 2. India – 1,900,000 Tonnes / 18.14% share of the beef export in the world
- 3. Australia – 1,610,000 Tonnes / 15.37% share of the beef export in the world
- 4. United States – 1,372,000 Tonnes / 13.10% share of the beef export in the world
- 5. New Zealand – 560,000 Tonnes / 5.35% share of the beef export in the world
The Secret of Soy Beans
Another large scale product of Brazil is soybean. This versatile plant is being used to create a vast amount of products. However, mostly it’s used to produce meat. In Europe, 93% of the soybean consumed is in the form of animal feed. Humanity could therefor use over 10 times more soybeans to create plant-based products or use the raw beans to feed people using the same amount of land as now. Soy is high in protein and energy, but it is currently being wasted to create inefficient meat-based products.
Source: Mapping the soy supply chain in Europe
Reduce meat consumption, especially beef as that requires the most land, water, energy and it is the number one reason for deforestation in the Amazon.