Estimating different policy scenarios for soy and cattle in the Amazon and Cerrado biomes

Authors: Amintas Brandao Jr.*, University of Wisconsin-Madison, SAGE Research Center, Lisa L Rausch, University of Wisconsin-Madison, SAGE Research Center, Holly K Gibbs, University of Wisconsin-Madison, SAGE Research Center, Ian Schelly, University of Wisconsin-Madison, SAGE Research Center
Topics: Land Use, Environment, Agricultural Geography
Keywords: Brazilian Amazon, Deforestation, Soy Moratorium, Land Pools, Scenarios
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Studio 3, Marriott, 2nd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Brazil is a testbed for public and private policies to reduce deforestation. Since 2004, deforestation dropped by 72% in the Amazon due public and private interventions. On the other hand, the Cerrado in currently under pressure of the agribusiness sector and with an annual deforestation rate five times higher than the Amazon between 2014 and 2015, mostly for soy. In this paper, we estimated land pools of the cleared area and standing natural vegetation up to 2015 for soy and cattle under different policy scenarios. We ran analyzes considering four scenarios for the Amazon and Cerrado: zero-gross conversion (ZGC); zero-gross deforestation (ZGD); zero-gross illegal conversion (ZGC-I); and full legal compliance (FLC). The results were calculated at watershed and showed that both biomes have enough cleared area for soy and pasture with no need for deforestation. Up to 56 Mha of cleared area is suitable for soy, which means that soy could double the current area (28 Mha) with no deforestation. For pasture, the 31 Mha available in the Amazon and the 19 Mha in Cerrado could accommodate the cattle production. Even though, there is enough cleared area available our results showed that 52 Mha of vegetation could be legally cleared, most of it in Cerrado (39Mha) and 13 Mha in the Amazon. If not deforested, up to 20 billion tCO2e could be avoided without disturb species with high biodiversity value. The results presented here have the potential to lead soy and companies to a better and more sustainable production

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