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27 Feb 2017

Hiroko Tabuchi, Claire Rigby and Jeremy Whitefeb, The New York Times (US)

Bolivia & Brazil: Mighty Earth report claims companies are involved in increasing Amazon deforestation & impacts on climate change; companies comment

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“Amazon Deforestation, Once Tamed, Comes Roaring Back” – 24 February, 2017

…Cargill traveled to…Bolivia’s eastern lowlands in the southernmost reaches of the vast Amazon River basin with an enticing offer…The American agricultural giant wanted to buy soybeans from the Mennonite residents…Cargill confirmed the accounts of colony residents, and said the company was still assessing whether it would source from the community. That decision would depend on a study of the area’s productivity and land titles, said Hugo Krajnc, Cargill’s corporate affairs leader for the Southern Cone, based in Argentina. “But if a farmer has burned down its forest we’ll not source from that grower,” he said…A decade after the “Save the Rainforest” movement forced changes that dramatically slowed deforestation across the Amazon basin, activity is roaring back in some of the biggest expanses of forests in the world. That resurgence, driven by the world’s growing appetite for soy and other agricultural crops, is raising the specter of a backward slide in efforts to preserve biodiversity and fight climate change…According to Mighty Earth’s analysis, the Brazilian savanna areas in which Cargill operates, a region called the Cerrado, saw more than 321,000 acres of deforestation between 2011 and 2015. Mighty Earth also linked Bunge, the other agricultural giant, to more than 1.4 million acres from 2011 to 2015…In Bolivia, where supply-chain mapping is not available, Mighty Earth sent employees to areas where Cargill operates. The organization used drones to record the clearing of forests and savannas in areas where Cargill operates silos…