The largest threat to that biodiversity? It's the cattle and cattle feed industry. Large swaths of rainforest are cleared for cattle to graze and to grow food for the animals. In fact, a full 95% of all deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon has been due to animal agriculture.
Wildlife populations plummet, the planet loses one of the most important tropical forests for carbon capture and storage, and the microclimate turns drier, resulting in the kinds of intense fires that destroyed additional more than 2.2 million acres (906,000 hectares) of rainforest in 2019 and made headlines around the world. This year is the first year that deforestation has started to decline since 2018.
Re:wild is working with local partners, Indigenous communities and local communities on finding economic alternatives to cattle ranching in Amazonia that are environmentally sustainable and often bring in more than the cattle industry.
In the Amazon region, livestock generate between USD$30 and USD$100 per hectare per year of net income. Yet a recent study shows that individuals in Brazil’s state of Pará who moved to cocoa agricultural systems are making between four and six times more profit per hectare compared to cattle. And the production of açaí in Brazil results in a net income of between USD$200 and USD$1,500 USD per hectare.
We are also exploring biotechnology like precision fermentation and other alternatives that could yield even greater revenue for tropical countries like Brazil using a fraction of the resources.
Animal agriculture is the leading cause of deforestation in Australia.
The cattle and cattle feed industry are the largest threat to the Brazilian Amazon.
The United States is the largest beef producer and beef importer in the world. That's a problem.