Journal article Open Access

Impacts of Public and Private Sector Policies on Soybean and Pasture Expansion in Mato Grosso—Brazil from 2001 to 2017

Picoli, Michelle; Rorato, Ana; Leitao, Pedro; Camara, Gilberto; Maciel, Adeline; Hostert, Patrick; Sanches, Ieda

Demand for agricultural exports in Brazil has stimulated the expansion of crop production and cattle raising, which has caused environmental impacts. In response, Brazil developed public policies such as the new Forest Code (FC) and supply chain arrangements such the Soy and the Cattle Moratoriums. This paper analyzes the effectiveness of these policies, considering the trajectories of agricultural expansion in the state of Mato Grosso in three years: 2005 (pre-moratorium and before the new FC), 2010 (post-moratorium and before the new FC) and 2017 (post-moratorium and post-new FC). Our analysis uses a detailed land use change data for both the Amazon and Cerrado biomes in Mato Grosso. In all the years considered, soybean expansion occurred in consolidated production areas and by conversion of pastures. Pasture expansion is influenced by existence of pastures nearby, by areas of secondary vegetation and deforestation. Our data and models show the effectiveness of public policies and private arrangements to reduce direct conversion from forests to crop production. However, our results also provide evidence that soybean expansion has caused indirect impacts by replacing pasture areas and causing pasture expansion elsewhere. Evidence from our work indicates that Brazil needs broader-ranging land use policies than what was done in the 2010s to be able to reach the land use goals stated in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) to the Paris Agreement.

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