Slaughtering the Amazon

Publication - 1 June, 2009
The cattle sector in the Brazilian Amazon is the largest driver of deforestation in the world, responsible for one in every eight hectares destroyed globally. Efforts to halt global deforestation emissions must tackle this sector.

Slaughtering the Amazon
Executive Summary
Greenpeace International, June 2009

Executive summary: Zero deforestation is a climate imperative.
Forests play a vital role in stabilising the world’s climate by storing large amounts of carbon that would otherwise contribute to climate change. The Amazon is estimated to store 80-120 billion tonnes of carbon. If destroyed, some fifty times the annual GHG emissions of the USA could be emitted.

Destruction of the Amazon, the world’s most important forest carbon store, is being driven by the cattle sector.
The Brazilian Amazon has the greatest annual average deforestation by area of anywhere in the world. The cattle sector is the key driver of deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon. According to the Brazilian government: ‘Cattle are responsible for about 80% of all deforestation’ in the Amazon region. In recent years, on average one hectare of Amazon rainforest has been lost to cattle ranchers every 18 seconds.

The cattle sector in the Brazilian Amazon is responsible for 14% of the world’s annual deforestation.
This makes it the world’s largest driver of deforestation, responsible for more forest loss than the total deforestation in any country outside Brazil except Indonesia.

You can download the Executive Summary and the full report - in four separate sections - by right-clicking on the following links and saving to your computer's hard drive. NB: Part 4 contains references for all parts of the report.

Slaughtering the Amazon - Executive Summary
Slaughtering the Amazon - Part 1
Slaughtering the Amazon - Part 2
Slaughtering the Amazon - Part 3
Slaughtering the Amazon - Part 4 (includes all references) 
(July 2009 Updated Version)