Soybeans Threaten Amazon

Jan 6, 2010
Outside Magazine

Photograph by Ivan Mlinaric via Flickr

The demand for soybeans has grown greatly worldwide--up 14-fold since 1950--which means more of the Amazon rainforest is being cleared to accommodate more crops, reports. Soybeans are the biggest thing in agriculture in Brazil, and they require a lot of land to grow because soybeans are not as responsive to fertilizer as other crops since they devote more energy biologically to fixing nitrogen in the soil than to producing seed.

Progressive deforestation means greater carbon emissions, and while Brazil has talked about cutting deforestation 80% by 2020 to contribute to lowering global carbon emissions, such a goal would be difficult to reach if soybean demand keeps rising.

--Aileen Torres

Filed To: Science, Nature

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