The Amazon rainforest spans nine different countries across South America, and plays an essential role in the biosphere. It captures global-warming-inducing carbon dioxide, and also produces oxygen necessary for life.
Although deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has decreased in recent years, other countries have picked up the pace.
Bolivia is currently the greatest deforester of the Amazon; with Colombia and French Guiana close behind. Environmentalists find deforestation in these countries even more difficult to contest, because of heightened instability.
The impetus behind deforestation are the closely-linked soy and cattle industries. Forests are cleared for soybean planting and cattle grazing, which not only destroys the rich soil, but also threatens the livelihoods of small farmers, indigenous people, and biodiversity. Soybeans are a primary ingredient in livestock feed around the world (with China being the top customer of Brazilian soya).
To help educate people around the world about these connections, our friends at Instituto Peabiru have created this powerful graphic. To learn more about the links between deforestation, cattle, and soy, please look at the materials on our Brazil page.
Image by Fernanda Martins/Instituto Peabiru