Cattle ranching in Brazil has been one of the major driving forces behind deforestation. 80% of deforested areas is used for cattle ranching. This is creating a significant problem as the cattle industry is quickly replacing the natural forests and is causing environmental damage.
Many leaders have come up with programs in an attempt to draw ranchers into other industries to protect Brazil’s remaining forests. However, this is still an ongoing problem and it is extremely vital to protect and maintain our remaining world’s forests.Social ImpactsCattle Ranching requires large areas of land. This means that cattle ranching usually takes place in more remote areas, with the ability to live in a peaceful and country-like environment. However, these areas lack necessary resources and services for people living in these small communities.
This can make it especially hard for cattle ranchers and those who work there as they aren’t provided with certain facilities to assist in living comfortably. People who live in these small communities aren’t able to find jobs so they result to cattle ranching. Slavery is an issue as thousands of people are forced to work on Brazil’s cattle ranches. They work in terrible conditions and are treated unfairly.
Interviewed by CNN: Seu Luiz, a 69 year old who worked in cattle ranching says that he slept on the floor of a cattle corral, with no bathroom and only a small tap outside used for washing. Seu Luiz tells inspectors that he received no money for the past two years. The ranch owner provided them with food but deducted this from their wage. The owner then claimed that he owed him money for the food. Seu Luiz owed no money to the owner but was afraid to leave for his family’s safety. Another victim of slavery in the Amazon, Maria Dalva Sousa, had been living with her husband and son in a shack on the edge of a corral. She said,”I just want to get out of here, nobody deserves to live like this, look at this mud, only rats can sleep in a place like this.” This shows the Economic impactsCattle ranching is a very large industry in Brazil.
Many countries source their beef from Brazil and this helps to provide jobs and income for cattle ranchers in Brazil. Cattle ranching is a low maintenance job and a low risk investment. Farmers can raise their cattle on cheap land where there is grass already growing, which is why it may appear as an appealing job.Environmental ImpactsCattle ranching in Brazil is causing many environmental consequences. Beef production in Brazil is the main cause of deforestation, further contributing to the negative changes in our environment.
Even though there may be short term profits for the cattle ranchers, there are many long-term consequences and impacts. 340 million tonnes of carbon dioxide are released every year due to deforestation caused by cattle ranching, this makes up 3.4% of global emissions. The Slash and Burn agricultural practise is used to create cattle pastures. The method involves cutting and burning plants in the forest to make way for new fields. The clearing and burning of these forests is releasing millions of tonnes of greenhouse gasses into our atmosphere every year and this is contributing to the rises in our earth’s temperature.
The process of deforestation not only creates more carbon dioxide but also decreases the number of trees that are able to absorb this carbon dioxide (carbon sinks).The land that farmers use for cattle ranching is degrading as farmers aren’t investing in keeping the soil healthy. As the land degrades, the farmers struggle to gain an income due to the quality of the land deteriorating. This forces them to deforest new areas and create new pastures. This becomes an endless cycle as farmers are unable to keep their soil healthy and continuously create new pastures. Overgrazing also accelerates the soil degradation due to erosion and loss of nutrients.Loss of biodiversity is another consequence of cattle ranching. The Brazilian forests are homes to many native animals.
Deforestation of these forests eliminates many homes and natural resources not only for humans but also animals. Animals are without homes and food to sustain life. If the deforestation continues, many animals may become extinct if they are unable to adapt to new environments.