Deforested Amazon used for cattle

2011-09-03 22:43
Brasilia - More than 60% of deforested areas of the Brazilian Amazon forest are used for grazing cattle, while only 5% is used for agriculture, a new government study said.

From research of satellite imagery, Brazilian officials found of the 719 000 square kilometres cleared up to 2008, a whopping 62% was left as just grass, and that the use amounted to on average one cow per hectare, roughly the size of a football field.

"Having less than one head of cattle per hectare is unacceptable," said Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira in comments quoted by the Brazilian press on Saturday.

"It's a waste, because the forest is being replaced by something that does not generate income or growth," she lamented.

While 5% of the land goes to agriculture, some 21% is effectively abandoned and left to its own regeneration.

Brazil, which has jurisdiction over most of the Amazon, the world's largest rainforest, has committed to drastically reduce deforestation by 80% by 2020, though preliminary data indicates that in the last 12 months the process has in fact increased by some 15%, according to government figures.

Read more on:    brazil  |  environment  |  climate change
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