Soybeans make inroads in Amazon region


Time was when cattle represented the main threat to Brazil’s Amazon forest. Settlers clear-cut with the help of government tax breaks aimed at promoting migration to the strategically valued basin. And once the land was cleared, the cattle moved in. Such was the pressure that about 13% of the region, an area the size of France, has been shorn of its tree cover in the past 30 years. An end to government incentives and the changing economics of beef have made Amazon ranching a losing proposition; most cattle are now raised close to population centers. But new economic forces are at work in the region, and one of the most powerful is soy, Brazil’s largest single foreign-exchange earner. For the country’s restless soy... [Log in to read more]

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