Comparing the trends and strength of determinants to deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon in consideration of biofuel policies in Brazil and the United States

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June 2016
Paper author(s): 
Miguel Carriquiry
Amani Elobeid
Ryan Goodrich
Agricultural - Natural Resource Economics

This paper provides a review of several of the major factors that will determine the need to incorporate additional land to production in response to a demand increase, for example as a result of biofuel policies. Among the factors reviewed are the potential for yield intensification in response to higher returns (intensification effects), and the limited existing evidence in yield drags as areas are incorporate to crop production (extensification effects). We conduct a review of the recent trends on Amazon deforestation, highlighting the recent interventions and seemingly sustained lower rates than in earlier years. These lower rates, which may be the results of more stringent regulations and control, occur in a period of high agricultural price and demand for land, which calls for some additional research on the direct link between global agricultural demand and deforestation of the Brazilian Amazon. Scenario analysis using an augmented version of the CARD/FAPRI agricultural modeling system (augmented to include planted forests in Brazil) seem to provide evidence in this line. Systematic work in this line is scarce and clearly more research is needed to truly understand the implications of adding the competition with planted forests, different levels of policy enforcement, and potentials for yield (both in terms of crops and pastures) increases on evaluations of agricultural price change, land use change, and environmental impacts.


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