For Responsible Soy Production:
"Soybean farms cause some forest clearing directly. But they have a much greater impact on deforestation by consuming cleared land, savanna, and transitional forests, thereby pushing ranchers and slash-and-burn farmers ever deeper into the forest frontier."
Between the years 2000 and 2007, 59,081 square miles of Amazon forest were cut down due to the growing demand for cattle pasture and wood products. Soy farmers have also been deforesting to expand their production. Animal habitats and the ecology of the rainforest were being destroyed to meet the needs of the consumers. And that is only the Amazon! South America and Mexico have also suffered from major loses of tropical and non-tropical forests as well.
Since this deforestation imposed such a large toll on the environment, consumers started to demand eco-friendly coffee and soy products. In response, farmers thought of an innovative solution which is becoming more and more prevalent. The existing cattle pastures and soy farms, which Brazilians call cerrado, have always been thought of as worthless land since all nutrients had been removed from the soil years earlier. Enterprising farmers figured out that if they supply these exhausted lands with needed nutrients such as chemical lime, they can continue to supply happy consumers with soy products.
The Basel Criteria for Responsible Soy Production came into effect in 2004 to establish guidelines and to give consumers a way to ensure that the soy products that they buy have been produced responsibly. Paraguay has placed a ban on deforestation for two years to stop the cutting of forests to make more land available for soy production. Production has increased in spite of the law. This has won Paraguay the “Leaders for a Living Planet” award from the World Wildlife Federation. It is efforts such as these that are win-win for everyone concerned. We can only hope that this same type of plan will be implemented in all countries and the world would see the benefits in reducing deforestation and saving endangered species.
Are you a Stewardship Expert? Play our Quiz
“Basel Criteria for Responsible Soy Production, The”. Panda.org. August 2004. Accessed 16 February 2008. <http://22.214.171.124/search?q=cache:y8ifHrAvvuIJ:assets.panda.org/downloads/
Gingrich, Newt and Terry Maple. A Contract with the Earth. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins UP, 2007. Accessed 16 February 2008.
Lacerda, Leonardo. “A win-win situation for the Atlantic Forest and soy”. WWF. Accessed 16 February 2008. <http://www.panda.org/about_wwf/what_we_do/forests/our_solutions/responsible_forestry
Crustmania. “Deforestation”. Flickr.com. Accessed 16 February 2008. <http://www.flickr.com/photos/crustmania/233523196/?addedcomment=1#comment72157604047890590>