Brazil's recent surge in exports has helped the economy, but the Amazon rainforest is paying the price, despite the new Brazilian government's commitment to reducing deforestation.
According to this article, European and Asian beef consumers are now the main driving force behind the Amazon rainforest's destruction. Beef exports have increased by 500 per cent since 1997 and are blamed for accelerated and often illegal deforestation in the Amazon basin (see Demand for Brazilian beef threatens rainforest).
The dilemma is being addressed by a US$137 million action plan, which aims to improve enforcement of existing laws, clarify land titles and criminalise deforestation of public land. Some hope that the initiative will help forge productive partnerships between environmentalists and the ranchers and farmers they have traditionally opposed.