Brazilian scientists have called an unexpected danger to the forests of the Amazon. Their study showed that the owners of soybean plantations continue to destroy fauna for the sake of crops, despite the law prohibiting the cultivation of this product in the largest forests on the planet. About it informs The Guardian.
In 2006, Brazil imposed a moratorium on the sale of deforested soybeans, which are used as cattle feed around the world. From 2004 to 2012, deforestation in the Amazon decreased by 84 percent. However, deforestation then picked up again and peaked in 15 years in 2021. Planters have found a way around the law: the moratorium only applies to soybeans and does not apply to raising livestock or growing corn in deforested areas. Thus, soybeans from farms expanded through forests can officially be considered environmentally friendly.
Researchers from the non-governmental organization Instituto Centro de Vida, together with journalists from Greenpeace Unearthed and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, analyzed satellite data and found that from 2009 to 2019, farmers cut down more than a thousand square meters of Amazonian forests to expand soy plantations in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso . This state leads in Brazil in the amount of soybeans grown.
Holly Gibbs, a professor of geography and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, believes that pressure from soybean buyers from Europe and the United States on planters is necessary to save forests. “Legislation in Europe, the UK and the US is raising deforestation rates to expand farms. The soybean industry should expand the moratorium to close the loophole that allows planters to cut down trees,” he said. Raoni Rajon, a professor from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, added that now only soybean growing areas are being tested – experts do not examine the rest of the farm.
In 2021, the loss of Amazonian forests in Brazil increased by 22 percent, and their area decreased by 13.2 thousand square kilometers – the most since 2006. Greenpeace noted that the fastest decline in forests began with the coming to power in 2019 of President Jair Bolsonaro. The Brazilian leader encourages agriculture and the meat industry, which are proving to be detrimental to the ecosystem. However, Bolsonaro himself denies the accusations and claims that 90 percent of the forests remained intact.
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