New research show that Zero Deforestation Agreements have real impact and Brazilian rain forest has been preserved.
A new study is the first to evaluate the impacts of zero deforestation agreements, which are aimed at curbing the destruction of rain forests in Brazil by cattle farmers. Expansion of cattle pastures has led to the destruction of huge swaths of rain forest in Brazil, home to the world's largest herd of commercial beef cattle. But a new study led by the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Holly Gibbs shows that market-driven "zero deforestation agreements" have dramatically influenced the behavior of ranchers and the slaughterhouses to which they sell.
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The researchers found that these zero deforestation agreements prompted ranchers to swiftly register their properties in an environmental registry, led slaughterhouses to actively block purchases from ranches with recent deforestation, and saw lower deforestation rates among supplying ranches.
"We show that concurrent public and private supply-chain pressures could be a game changer, and help to finally break the link between deforestation and beef production," says Gibbs, a professor of geography and environmental studies in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment.
There are though also problems and deforestation is still going on, but the study finds that the agreements have had a vast impact already.
Earlier this year McDonald's pledged to adopt zero deforestation throughout its supply chain by 2030. Consumers can support this cause by asking for environmentally friendly foods.
"Every few weeks we see a major global corporation come forward and commit to removing deforestation from their supply chain," says Gibbs. "These multinational companies have long profited from the exploitation of tropical forests, but they're now at the forefront of an environmental movement to reduce the deforestation caused by agricultural expansion."
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The research has been publishing today on May 12, 2015 in the journal Conservation Letters by the research team including other UW-Madison scientists, the National Wildlife Federation, and IMAZON Amazon Institute of People and the Environment.