Deforestation Driver Seen Profit Rather Than Poverty at Center

Global deforestation is now spurred mainly by industrial agriculture, rather than subsistence-level farming, the Center for International Forestry Research said, citing Rhett Butler, the founder of environmental-news website Mongabay.com.

The shift toward profit and regional or international markets as a driver, rather than poverty and local needs, creates opportunities for conservation because some of the companies involved are sensitive to environmental campaigns, the center said in a blog on its website. Cattle ranching is one of the biggest spurs for deforestation in the Amazon, it said.

“We know that the commercial drivers for deforestation are now more important than some decades back,” Sven Wunder, a Brazil-based scientist with the center, was cited as saying.

A Greenpeace campaign in 2009 that targeted buyers of secondary products such as leather contributed to policy changes in Brazil, according to Butler. The Amazon is the world’s largest rain forest.

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