The large-scale destruction of tropical rain forests is one of the most important environmental issues of the late twentieth century. The bulk of the remaining forest is to be found in the Amazon Basin, largely in Brazil, where the rapid expansion of cattle ranching has been implicated as themain cause of irreversible deforestation over the last decade. This book analyzes the economic, agronomic and environmental evidence for the benefits and costs of cattle ranching in the Amazon region. The author provides a survey of the ecology of the Amazon rain forest, the methods of economicvaluation of forests, the agricultural systems in the Amazon, the history and underlying causes of its colonization and the effects on land use, and the extent of deforestation. Combining this information with his extensive field work in Brazil, the author then gives a detailed description of thecattle ranching systems in the Amazon, their economics and effects on the forest; he concludes with an evaluation of the region's potential for sustainable cattle production.
About the author
Merle D. Faminow, Department of Agricultural Economics and Farm Management, University of Manitoba.