Fire, deforestation, and livestock: when the smoke clears

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Recent Amazon fires fuelled a media narrative combining politics with an already emotive story linking deforestation to extensive cattle ranching and global meat consumption. Scrutiny of the reasons for the 2019 fires suggests that the perceived link between deforestation and extensive land use for beef production is not as clear as commonly supposed. Indeed, land sparing through sustainable intensification of predominant livestock pastures may be acting as a significant buffer between meat demand and livestock production and consequent land use change and deforestation. Well-intentioned beef boycotts potentially weaken the incentive to invest in pasture restoration and may lead to a counterfactual of extensive land use, and increased greenhouse gas emissions. The possibility suggests the need for more nuanced debate about the regional-specificity of land use for sustainable livestock production, and the role of dietary change.
Original languageEnglish
JournalLand Use Policy
Early online date27 Jul 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 27 Jul 2020

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Deforestation
  • Amazon
  • Sustainable intensification
  • Livestock
  • Land use change
  • Dietary change


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