It appears that most of the deforestation in the Amazon is due to the creation of pastureland for grazing. From 1966 to 1975 38% of deforestation was attributed to grazing, but by 2003 80% of the growth in the cattle business was occurring in the Amazon. Government policies contribute to this practice. Brazilian law grants land claims to anyone who can clear land and then just stick a couple cows out there. Inflation and real estate prices also inflate the price of pasture over forest, and often forests are being cleared simply for investment, not practical, purposes. Finally, road construction makes it even easier for ranchers to reach their cattle and subsequently export the beef.
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