The images recorded by Animal Equality raise some doubts about the possible connection between deforestation and fires with agricultural and livestock activities in Brazil, the world's leading exporter of soybeans.
More than a thousand trucks in the Pará region in Brazil with the port of Itaituba as destination and “loaded with soybeans”, according to Animal Equality. These are the images captured by an NGO team when it traveled to the area to obtain documentation on "the increase in deforestation in the Amazon rainforest and its connection with livestock," as stated by the organization itself.
The Pará area was one of those affected by the fires this summer, which increased exponentially with respect to figures in recent years, according to the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE). Therefore, it is likely that the fire of months ago and these images have a direct connection. How does this connection work?
The first step in this union comes with deforestation. Contrary to popular thinking, logging of the Amazon forests typically comes before fires, research from the Monitoring the Andean Amazon Project (MAAP) initiative shows. In this study, thanks to the recording of satellite images of specific areas of the forest, it is possible to see how deforestation precedes burning.
Following this field, the data provided by DETER, a monitoring service developed by INPE, prove that deforestation alerts have increased this summer under the government of the far-right Jair Bolsonaro. And because of the relationship between fire and logging, with deforestation the sources of fires have increased.
Specifically, last August 1,664.1 square kilometers were identified under deforestation alert, 321.69% more than the 517.38 registered the previous year. It should be pointed out, however, that the DETER data are not definitive, since it is an alert system and the conclusive ones are offered by the Prodes system, also dependent on the INPE, which publishes annual results at the end of the last semester. However, they are a good indication of the situation in the Amazon from minute to minute.
Having clarified this point, both logging and burning belong to a livestock practice, known as 'queimada' in Brazil, which serves to clear the wooded land for raising animals and make it more fertile through fire for agriculture and cultivation. of different products, soy in the case of the images captured by Animal Equality.
According to the Observatory of Economic Complexity, Brazil is the world's largest soybean exporter, controlling 45% of sales above the US (38%). In addition, from Animal Equality they assure that "around 79% of the world's soy is crushed for animal feed". Therefore, the relationship between the Amazon fires could go beyond soybeans and even be related to meat production.