Roads and cattle farming are two major drivers of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon.
Photo: Kate Evans/ CIFOR


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The expansion of commercial agriculture in Brazil has detrimental effects on natural ecosystems. Our authors have examined how the Brazilian land market responds to transport infrastructure investments and shifts in the environmental governance regime especially in the Amazon region. Their results indicate that land users speculate based on planned infrastructure improvements and may also relocate in response to conservation policy.

Preserving tropical forests while providing food, feed, fuel and fibre to a growing population is a key challenge for sustainable development. With massive land reserves and a modern agricultural sector, Brazil has a key role to play in managing the trade-off between related SDGs, such as “Zero Hunger” and “Life on Land”. Correspondingly, Brazil’s output of globally traded commodities, such as soy and beef, has been on the rise in the last two decades while impacts on tropical forests have been quite variable over time and throughout the landscape. Extremely high levels of annual forest loss early in the 2000s were reduced by almost 80 per cent between 2004 and 2012 due to stringent conservation governance. Since these years of consistent reduction of deforestation in the Amazon, rates have been on the rise again with a dramatic increase of 30 per cent between 2018 and 2019.

Pressure on forests depends on the net benefits land users expect to obtain from different land use options.

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