Saturday, January 02, 2010
Brazil launched one of the most ambitious proposals in decades to resolve the environmental crisis: eliminate 80% of the deforestation of the Amazon by 2020. This will not be easy since one of the main causes of the destruction of the forest is extensive grazing, which represents annual revenues of $5.3 billion for exports in the country. Farmers cut down forests to increase grasslands, where the constant trampling by livestock and its exploitation make it sterile.
Brazilian scientists have devised various strategies to avoid these practices. They have technologies that facilitate the restoration of eroded soil, as well as nutrients that help the grass to be more resistant and nutritious. "If we implement these technologies for the recuperation and management of pastures, we will be able to avoid having to clear more hectares of forest to feed cattle", said Claudio Ramalho Townsend, a researcher at Embrapa.
The Brazilian government has opened a $1.2 billion line of credit to help farmers acquire these new technologies.
The problem for now is that it is still difficult for many to meet the requirements for credit, and for these farmers the cheapest method is still to continue cutting down the forest. If this problem is solved in the upcoming years then it will contribute to the ambitious goal of combatting the deforestation of the Amazon.