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News > Brazil

Livestock Farming is Amazon Deforestation Largest Contributor

  • Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, 2023.

    Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, 2023. | Photo: X/ @jctm1

Published 8 December 2023

Between 1984 and 2022, Amazonian territories modified by human action increased by 169 percent.

On Friday, the Amazon Socio-Environmental Geo-Referenced Information Network (RAISG) and the MapBiomas network presented a study revealing that three out of every four hectares deforested in the Amazon over the last four decades were allocated for livestock farming.


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The research indicates that approximately 86 million hectares of natural vegetation were deforested between 1985 and 2022 in the Amazon region.

At least 66.5 million hectares were converted into pastures, another 19.4 million hectares into agricultural lands, and a marginal portion was allocated to mining and other uses.

The study highlights an alarming growth in mining activity, which saw a 1,367 percent increase over the 38 years analyzed.

Between 1984 and 2022, Amazonian territories modified by human action increased by 169 percent. Primarily, the land-use change was directed towards grazing, with land occupation expanding from 51 to 85 million hectares.

The study is based on the analysis of land use across 844 million hectares of jungle located in Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Guyana, French Guiana, and Suriname.

Brazil bears the brunt of forest conversion to pastures, especially in what they have termed the "arc of deforestation," a zone spanning the entire southern border of the biome, now a thriving agricultural and livestock region. This country contains 61.9 percent of Amazonian territory within its borders, which decreased by 14 percent between 1985 and 2022.

Bolivia, with 8.4 percent of Amazonian forests, is the second-most affected country, experiencing a deforestation rate of 10 percent.

Although deforestation affects more than just forested areas, these regions were the most impacted. The Amazon is covered by 81.4 percent natural vegetation, of which 73.4 percent is forest, and only 6 million hectares of non-forest land were cleared during the period covered by the analysis.

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