One environmental impact that has raised serious concerns is loss of Amazonian forest through indirect land use change (ILUC), whereby mechanized agriculture encroaches on existing pastures, displacing them to the frontier. This phenomenon has been hypothesized by many researchers and projected on the basis of simulation for the Amazonian forests of Brazil. It has not yet been measured statistically, owing to conceptual difficulties in linking distal land cover drivers to the point of impact.
Global demands for food and biofuel are expected to soar in
coming decades . To meet these demands, new land will need
to be brought into production. Brazil, with its abundant land
resource, will no doubt continue to play an important role as a
global supplier of agricultural commodities . Although conversions of forest
to mechanized agriculture have been observed, pasture expansion remains by far
the primary direct cause of Amazonian deforestation. Recent
research suggests, however, that mechanized agriculture may
exert a significant indirect effect, by the displacement of old
pastures, and their recovery on the forest frontier. The present letter takes this
displacement mechanism as ILUC, for the purposes of its
The statistical models indicate that deforestation in the
forest frontiers of the basin is strongly related to soy expansion
in its settled agricultural areas, to the south and east.
Source: Arima, E. Y., Richards, P., Walker, R., & Caldas, M. M. (2011). Statistical confirmation of indirect land use change in the Brazilian Amazon.Environmental Research Letters, 6(2), 024010.