The Brazilian Cattle industry was blamed in a critical report “Slaughtering the Amazon” by Greenpeace as a key driver of deforestation which led at the time to a number of international brands being targeted for using Brazilian leather.
The authors of the report (researchers from the North-American institution Union of Concerned Scientists) emphasize the reduction of 70% in the deforestation rates in Brazil in comparison to figures from 2013 and average rates between 1996 and 2005. “Changes in the Brazilian Amazon forest during the last decade and its contribution to slow down global warming are unprecedented”, says the report, which analyses 17 developing countries that hold tropical forests. “The speed of changes within just one decade – actually, from 2004 to 2009 – is impressive.”
According to the study, deforestation rates in the Amazon fell 70% until 2013, in comparison to average rates from 1996 to 2005; the report also emphasizes that around 80% of the original forest still remains intact.
Another important issue that highlights the country’s advances is the fact that from the year 2000 on gas emissions resulting from deforestation in Brazil decreased by more than two thirds. Brazil’s success is credited to a series of class and governmental political actions. The report emphasizes the importance of voluntary moratorium adopted by the soya industry – which, from 2006 on, has made a commitment not to buy grains produced in deforested lands of the Amazon – and the bovine meat sector, that has followed the example since 2009.
Still according to the study, the Public Prosecutor’s office has played a key role, with judicial actions that reinforced the application of laws and its help with advanced mapping and monitoring systems. The document says, for example, that by establishing agreements with exporters and slaughterhouses, demanding them to acknowledge the borders of the farms they buy their products from, it was possible to identify producers that deforest and exclude them from the supply chain.
The document still highlights the initiatives from Brazilian States and City Councils, which promoted deep changes in order to reduce deforestation and pressured the Federal Government for more severe actions.