The Brazilian Amazon is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet.

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.

Of the deforestation that occurred in the Brazilian Amazon between 1985-2021, a full 95% was due to animal agriculture, including both pasture for cattle and feed crops.

The consequences are devastating.

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. 

Scientists worry that if between 20 and 25 percent of Amazonia is destroyed, the rainforest will no longer be able to sustain itself.

What are we doing about it?

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.

The Brazilian Amazon makes up about 60% of Amazonia, a vast region that includes Brazil and seven other countries (plus French Guiana).

Cattle ranching is the biggest driver of deforestation across the region.

Case Studies