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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Does growing soy destroy Amazon rainforest?

Amazon - Centroid points

the map shows the movement of the mean centroid of soy and pasture cultivation and deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon

DAPA’s Elizabeth Barona and colleagues just published an important new paper in the journal Environmental Research Letters.  The paper addresses the question of whether soy or pasture is the main driving force behind deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon, a topic of recent debate among scientists and environmentalists. Elizabeth’s research is the first study to address this question using broad-scale statistics at the municipal level across the Brazilian Amazon. Using spatial and statistical analysis, the study showed that forest clearing for pasture development was directly associated with deforestation. But the research also suggests that soy development is an indirect cause of deforestation. The study suggests thats reducing deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is complex and can only be addressed by taking a multifaceted approach.

The research was the result of collaboration between CIAT and the Department of Geography at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Elizabeth recently completed her master’s degree at McGill under the direction of Dr. Navin Ramankutty.

The paper was also featured in an article of the online journal Environmental Research Web. Congratulations  to the CIAT/McGill team for their new publication.

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