I’m not sure it’s as easy as it seems to draw the correlation between beef prices and rainforest removal. The top four world producers of beef are Australia, Brazil, Canada and Argentina (although China is fast gaining on them). Of these countries, only Brazil has significant rainforest resources. Since 2004 Brazil has been the world’s top exporter of beef, largely because of prices, and it is unquestionably true that a large amount of Brazil’s ever-increasing ranchland is a result of deforestation. However, a lot of factors affect the price of beef: how far the cattle must be moved to market, transportation costs, and external factors like BSE (“mad cow” disease), which devastated domestic beef production in Europe early in the last decade. Brazil’s ranchers do generally have lower overhead because their ranchland is cheaper, and that ranchland comes mainly from deforestation. However I was not able to find evidence that this was the major factor in Brazil’s rise to dominance in the world beef market. Nevertheless, it is true that deforestation to make room for ranchland remains a major threat to the ecosystems of the Amazon region.
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