In early May 2005, the Brazilian government announced that almost one-fifth of the Amazon has now been cleared by deforestation. If we look back at the unfortunate progressive destruction statistics, the future appears bleak for what some describe as the lungs of the earth. Why is Brazil losing so much forest? What can be done to slow deforestation?
Today deforestation in the Amazon is the result of several factors, including:
Clearing for cattle pasture – The devaluation of the Brazilian currency against the dollar has effectively doubled the price of beef in Brazilian currency and created an incentive for ranchers to expand their pasture areas at the expense of the rainforest. The eradication of Foot-and-Mouth Disease in much of Brazil has increased price and demand for Brazilian beef. In addition, Brazils recent road construction has gives developers and ranchers access to previously inaccessible forestlands in the Amazon.