Trees stand in the rain forest in the southern part of the Amazonian state of Para, near Belo Monte, Brazil. (Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg)

Amazon Jungle Spared From Soy Expansion by Industry's Moratorium

(Bloomberg) -- A moratorium by companies including Cargill Inc. and Bunge Ltd. on purchases of soybeans from newly deforested land in Brazil’s Amazon led to a plunge in oilseed cultivation in the rainforest area, Greenpeace said.

The annual rate of deforestation for soybeans in monitored municipalities fell 85 percent since 2008 to an average 1,049 square kilometers a year, industry associations, environmental lobbies and Brazil’s government said Wednesday in a report. Oilseed expansion accounted for only 1.2 percent of total cutting in the Amazon region in the period.

The moratorium shows that zero deforestation is a possible pledge and that similar protection should be expanded to other biomes facing high cutting rates, Paulo Adario, a Greenpeace forest strategist, said in an email. That includes the Cerrado, the less iconic savanna where most of Brazilian soybeans are cultivated.

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