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"Soya Moratorium" Helped Reduce Amazon Deforestation, Study Finds

01/29/2015 - 08h54

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JOÃO CARLOS MAGALHÃES
FROM BRASÍLIA

The "soya moratorium", a pledge made in 2006 by agribusiness giants not to purchase soy from deforested areas of the Amazon, was essential in reducing rates of deforestation and should be maintained beyond next year, when it is due to expire.

This is the conclusion of a study by American and Brazilian researchers published in the magazine "Science".

The findings are based on analysis of the impact of soy cultivation on the Amazon biome before and after the agreement. Researchers used satellite monitoring systems to aid them in their analysis.

According to the researchers, in the two years prior to the agreement, almost 30% of the expansion of soya plantations in the region involved deforestation rather than the use of pastures or other areas away from the forest.

Last year, eight years after the agreement was made, this figure had fallen to just 1%.

The research also analysed the evolution of soy cultivation in the Cerrado biome, where the agreement does not apply.

Here, the percentage of plantations built upon virgin lands remained high, varying from 11% to 23%.

For Paulo Barreto, from the NGO Imazon and one of the study's co-authors, "the research shows that the commitment of the private sector in the fight against deforestation is essential."

Translated by TOM GATEHOUSE

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