Brazil’s Soy Moratorium has been credited with reducing deforestation rates in Amazonia, yet compliant land is finite and diminishing in response to rapidly increasing international demand for exports. Furthermore, whereas the Soy Moratorium has lessened the role of soy as a direct driver of Amazonian forest loss, it does not apply to the Cerrado, where recent soy expansion has come at the cost of ecologically valuable vegetation. Here we quantify the remaining potential for Soy Moratorium-compliant expansion at the microregion level in both the Amazon, where the current Soy Moratorium applies, and in the Cerrado, under a scenario where the Soy Moratorium is extended to the biome. We evaluate 189 microregions including all soy producing area in the Amazon and all area in the Cerrado. We determine potential compliant production increases for both regions using three approaches: expanding soy onto all Soy Moratorium-eligible land, closing yield gaps on current lands, and introducing integrated-crop-livestock systems with soy (ICLS) onto established pasture. We find 18.0 Mha of additional remaining eligible area in the Amazon and a hypothetical 67.9 Mha in the Cerrado, of which 81.0% and 62.3%, respectively, are estimated to be suitable for soy production. Utilizing all available land could over quintuple production from 2014 levels (466% increase), while restricting expansion to suitable land would result in a quadrupling of soy production (324% increase). However, any new soy expansion on eligible land would displace existing land uses, which may lead to leakage. Closing yield gaps on current lands could increase production only marginally (21.8% increase), while ICLS could generate meaningful production increases through areal expansion (37.5% increase) without facing leakage obstacles and while increasing financial benefits for farmers. Our findings suggest that adoption of a Cerrado Soy Moratorium would lead to a spatial shift in production away from rapidly transforming soy centers such as Matopiba and Central Mato Grosso, and into central and southwestern Cerrado where there is more concentrated eligible expansion area.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. August 2017. Major: Natural Resources Science and Management. Advisor: Jason Hill. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 44 pages.
Brazil’s Soy Moratorium: Current Expansion Capacities, Extension to the Cerrado, and Increasing Compliant Production.
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