Statistical Confirmation of Indirect Land Use Change in the Brazilian Amazon
This article discusses the growing issue of deforestation in the Amazon Rainforest. This region is found predominantly in Brazil and has become a growing global issue in the environmental conservation field. This article has discovered statistical data that shows one of the largest reasons for this massive deforestation. This problem is called indirect land use change. That is when agriculture activities are displaced from one region and are reconstituted to another region.
Since 2008, Brazil has been committed to reduce deforestation in compliance with the UN’s Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation plan, also know as REDD. The two largest forms of agriculture that are aiding to the deforestation is the cattle industry and soy production. Both of these industries are victims to the indirect land use change. Since 1990, Amazonian cattle population skyrocketed from only twenty-five million to seventy million. And soy production land has increased from 16,000 km^2 to 60,000 km^2. This has contributed to 700,000 km^2 of deforestation.
With the fear of pollution of petroleum products, biofuel has also become a big component in the energy industry. To produce this biofuel, land is need to grow the necessary crops, and Brazil is more than capable of producing this land in the place of deforestation. The fuel crops are displacing the food crops; this is also a part of the indirect land use change. Sixty percent of Amazonian deforestation will be from indirect land use change between the years of 2003 and 2020.
Using a statistical approach, the data showed that based on 761 municipalities, indicated deforestation is originating from soy production. If Brazil was to drop soy production by only ten percent, they would save at least 4,061 km^2 of the forest. In efforts to cover all of the different bases for deforestation, Brazil needs to have their environmental policies recognize land use linkages in agriculture and the economy. Consequently, global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by using biofuels must proceed with care and not fall under the category of indirect land use change.
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.