The major cause of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is large-scale cattle ranching. Conversion of forestland to grassland in order to pave way for cattle production is widespread. The leather derived from cattle is exported to other countries while the beef is sold locally and within the highly populated urban markets. The environmentalists have pushed the government. Consequently, they have set stricter compliance regulations for cattle owners and slaughterhouses (Barbosa 2000 p. 34).
Another cause of deforestation in the region is commercial agriculture and logging. The emergence of the soybean resulted into major deforestation in the Amazon. The soybean impact drove farmers deeper into the forest. In addition, rice and sugar cane farmers have also invaded the forest. Illegal logging in the forest is also widespread (Andersen 2002 p. 56). Other causes of deforestation are clearance of forest cover for hydroelectric power and mining of mineral, oil and gas. Furthermore, Brazil is the fifth largest country in the world. Its high population, rampant rate of urbanization and economic growth has made farmers invade the Amazon.
Recent studies reveal that the destruction of the Amazon in every minute is an area equal to 50 football pitches (Carrington 2013 p. 1). Environmentalists fear that if this trend continues, approximately 20% of the forests tree cover will be lost in the next twenty years resulting into the crumble of the forests’