The following is an excerpt from Jake Spring | August 28, 2018 | reuters.com |
CAMPOS LINDOS, Brazil – When farmer Julimar Pansera purchased land in Brazil's interior seven years ago, it was blanketed in tiers of fruit trees, twisted shrubs and the occasional palm standing tall in a thicket of undergrowth.
He mowed down most of that vegetation, set it ablaze and started planting soybeans. Over the past decade, he and others in the region have deforested an area larger than South Korea.
Permissive land-use policies and cheap farm acreage here have helped catapult Brazil into an agricultural superpower, the world's largest exporter of soy, beef and chicken and a major producer of pork and corn. This area has also lured farmers and ranchers away from the Amazon jungle, whose decline has spurred a global outcry to protect it.
The tradeoff, environmentalists say, is that while Brazil has slowed destruction of the renowned rainforest from its worst levels, it has put another vital ecological zone at risk: a vast tropical savanna that is home to 5 percent of species on the planet.
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