Deforestation connected to illegal cattle ranching, logging and mining accelerates in northern Brazil

25.09.2018

More than 10,000 hectares of forest have been cleared in the states of Pará and Mato Grosso in northern Brazil due to illegal cattle ranching.

The deforestation was identified in an analysis by Instituto Socioambiental (ISA), a Brazilian conservation NGO that has been tracking deforestation in the Xingu river basin.

The illegal ranching is also encroaching on indigenous reserves, according to ISA. The Cachoeira Seca do Iriri, an indigenous reservation and the ancestral land of the Arara people, has lost 1,096 ha of forest since January, mostly due to the extension of existing pasture.

Similarly, the Triunfo do Xingu Environmental Protected Area (APA) lost 1,911 ha of forest in July alone, taking total deforestation within the area this year to 15,134 ha. Juan Doblas of ISA said the deforestation demonstrated “the power and capability of the agribusiness sector within the APA”.

The expansion of illegal pastures in the area is taking place despite the commitment made in 2009 by slaughterhouses and meat processors in Pará and other Brazilian states – known as TAC da carne – to avoid sourcing cattle from illegally deforested areas.

The agreement is failing in its aim to halt illegal deforestation connected to cattle ranching in the Amazon. According to data released last March by the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office (MPF), in 2016, 17 slaughterhouses in Pará sourced at least 117,000 head of cattle from farms implicated in illegal deforestation. JBS, the world’s largest meat processor, was the company with the worst record, responsible for the purchase of over 85,000 head of cattle from farms implicated in illegal deforestation.

Despite these findings, the MPF has decided not to sanction any company on the basis there was no “bad faith” on the part of the slaughterhouses involved. The MPF also concluded that no more than 30 percent of the cattle purchased by these slaughterhouses came from farms presenting irregularities, a result the organ deemed “satisfactory”.

Back in the Xingu river basin, conservationists say that ranches and slaughterhouses found guilty of fuelling illegal deforestation in the area must be embargoed and fined by the authorities if the agreement is to have any chance of surviving.

More from Blog

There Will Be Blood / Four key takeaways from our latest report

Continue reading
UK Environment Act / Analyses show exemptions would create dangerous loopholes

Continue reading

Leather / BMW fails to substantiate allegations against Earthsight’s research


Continue reading
It is essential that a mandatory public list of non-compliant businesses is included in the final regulation to curb EU-driven deforestation and forest degradation

Continue reading
Brazil / World’s largest sovereign wealth fund finds beef giant guilty of driving illegal deforestation

Continue reading
Grand Theft Chaco II / Paraguay Senate seeks accountability from government following Earthsight illegal deforestation exposé

Continue reading
EU anti-deforestation law / Suspect timber firms lobby for certified wood ‘green lane’ in draft proposal

Continue reading
Open letter / Paraguay must halt invasions, deforestation of indigenous Ayoreo lands

Continue reading
FSC hall of shame / The ethical wood label’s long line of scandals

Continue reading
Open letter / Ethical wood label FSC is no longer fit for purpose and must urgently reform

Continue reading

Stay up to date with all Earthsight news & updates

Receive email updates for the latest news and insights from Earthsight and be among the first to read our new investigations.

We keep your data secure and don’t share anything with third parties. Read full terms.