Reassessing the role of cattle and pasture in Brazil's deforestation: A response to “Fire, deforestation, and livestock: When the smoke clears”

Filipe M. França, R. Solar, A.C. Lees, L.P. Martins, Erika Berenguer, Jos Barlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Silva et al. (Land Use Policy, 21 July 2020) offer an assessment of the links between deforestation, livestock production and exports in Brazil. Their analysis, based on relative changes in beef production and pasture area across the whole of Brazil, showed an “apparent decoupling of the link between beef production and deforestation in Brazil”. In reanalysing these links, we find that Silva et al. underestimate the strong, positive and significant associations between Brazilian livestock production and deforestation. Moreover, despite focusing the title, abstract and the beginning of their manuscript on the Amazon, their analyses are conducted at the national level, and fail to recognise marked differences in the development trajectories of Brazilian biomes, and that most of the recent pasture expansion in Brazil has replaced Amazonian forests. To progress any debate and aid decision-making regarding land-use changes in the Amazon, a region often in the spotlight and subjected to many debates that lack evidence, scientists must be open and scrupulous with their data sources and analyses. © 2020
Original languageEnglish
Article number105195
JournalLand Use Policy
Early online date26 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors would like to thank the following funding organizations from Brazil: CNPq-CAPES (Prevfogo-IBAMA 441949/2018-5 [SEM FLAMA], MCIC 420254/2018-8 [RESFLORA], 441659/2016-0 and 441573/2020-7 [PELD-RAS]); France: BNP Paribas Foundation (Climate and Biodiversity Initiative [project BIOCLIMATE]) ; and the UK: NERC ( NE/F01614X/1 [DIEBACK] and NE/P004512/1 [AFIRE]). RS is supported by a CNPq fellowship ( 305739/2019-0 ) and DAAD (project # 57393735 ). LPM is supported by a Doctoral Scholarship from the University of Canterbury . FF acknowledges Prof Jason Tylianakis and the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Canterbury for providing the workspace for data analysis and manuscript writing.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020


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