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Friday, January 6, 2012

Pasture occupies 60% of the deforested area in the Amazon region, agriculture just 5%, 35% abandoned

Pasture occupies 60% of the deforested area in the Amazon region

03/09/2011 - 12H05
Livestock is mainly responsible for the deforestation of the Amazon region. Just over 60% of the area that has lost its natural cover has been replaced by pasture.
The data makes up part of the study by INPE (National Space Research Institute) in partnership with Embrapa, and considers the total area deforested up to 2008 (720 thousand square kilometers) in the nine Amazon states.
"The use we made of the forest was not admirable. Livestock agriculture needs public policy for better use of the land," said Gilberto Câmara, director of the institute.
According to the study, only 34,900 square km (5%) are devoted to agriculture. Most of this land is concentrated in Mato Grosso, a major producer of soybeans.
"We already have deforested area that can boost livestock with more productivity, more efficiency, and increase the production of food," said Minister Aloizio Mercadante (Science, Technology and Innovation).
For the Environment Minister, Izabella Teixeira, the region's still untapped potential discourages discussion by those who defend the reduction of legal reserves in the language of the Forest Code, under discussion in Congress.
"We don't need to deforest to develop the Amazon. We don't need to clear any biome to develop agriculture," the minister says.
"Let's continue to do more research to base policy on solid data and end what I call "environmental speculation." We will not permit crime in relation to deforestation in Brazil, and in the Amazon in particular," summarized the minister.
After livestock, secondary vegetation occupies the largest deforested area. In all, 150,800 square km are in this category.
"It is the place where there was investment in deforestation, and then it was completely abandoned. There is no identifiable activity, not even minimally productive farming or livestock," the director of INPE explained.

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