Biofuels adding to destruction of Brazilian cerrado

We've heard plenty about how biodiesel feedstock from palm plantations in SE Asia contributes to forest devastation there, but the cry from Brazil has not been nearly as loud. Of course, that country's biofuel industry also has an impact on the natural landscape, as this article explains.

Rhett Butler, writing at (not, explains how biofuels are driving the destruction of the Brazilian cerrado, "one of the planet's most biodiverse savanna ecosystems." The cerrado makes up a ginormous part of Brazil - 740,100 square miles, according to Wikipedia - but, as the chart above shows, this amount has been decreasing for the last 20+ years. The rate of destruction has kind of leveled out after 2002.

Why is the cerrado going away? Butler writes that is is being "transformed into croplands to meet rising demand for soybeans, sugarcane, and cattle." Butler has the details at Mongabay, but biofuels are part of the problem. The American ethanol industry's push to plant more corn (instead of soybeans) domestically is linked to the increased soybean planting in Brazil (we've got to get our soy from somewhere, right?), for example. Just something to think about when you Go Yellow.

[Source: Mongabay]

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