Deforestation in Brazilian State of Pará7.1S 55.3W
The feathery tan lines cutting through the dark green of the Amazon Rainforest are from deforestation and agricultural fields or pastures on cleared land. Nearly 80 percent of land deforested in the Amazon from 1996-2006 is now used for cattle pasture, according to a 2009 report released by Greenpeace.
The report confirms that cattle ranching is the primary driver of deforestation in Earth’s largest rainforest: the Brazilian Amazon. Over the past decade more than 10 million hectares – an area about the size of Iceland – was cleared for cattle ranching as Brazil rose to become the world’s largest exporter of beef.
Now the government aims to double the country’s share of the beef export market to 60% by 2018 through low interest loans, infrastructure expansion, and other incentives for producers. Most of this expansion is expected to occur in the Amazon were land is cheap and available — 70 percent of the country’s herd expansion between 2002 and 2006 occurred in the region.