Brazilian farmers’ slash-and-burn clearing of parts of the Amazon rain forest for agricultural purposes has become a concern for environmentalists. The farmers plant much of their tree-cleared land with soybeans destined for export to China. Some farmers are also clearing forest areas for cattle ranching to meet China’s growing demand for beef. Another big story in the end may be China’s role in importing timber from the world’s largest tropical rain forest, a major undertaking that could result in a significant increase in carbon emissions from Latin America’s largest country. The trees are currently playing a positive role in absorbing some of the carbon dioxide emissions that are driving global warming.
China is importing timber from Brazil at a rate that may turn out to have a huge impact on many Brazilians—and on the world, environmentalists say.