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  • Published on February 18, 2022

This project aims to investigate trade-offs between deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and water use associated with beef and soy commodity production and exports from Brazil.

The production and trade of soy and beef from Brazil is linked to deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, and biodiversity. These impacts motivate existing zero-deforestation commitments from countries and companies, but the effects of such commitments on local water use and scarcity are poorly understood.

One of the main pathways for achieving deforestation-free supply chains is to intensify agricultural production  a process which can be highly demanding on water resources. Brazilian soybeans rely almost entirely on rainfall whose magnitude can decrease with upwind deforestation and increase with upwind irrigation; a growing Brazilian cattle population will require an increasing amount of drinking water typically stored in farm impoundments on the landscape.

This project explores the links between the global trade of Brazilian soy and beef commodities, water use and water scarcity, and policies designed to improve the sustainability of supply chains (particularly zero-deforestation commitments).

Our work also seeks to use Trase to highlight the links between water use for soy and beef and commodity exports from Brazil, and the effects of land use and land use change on regional precipitation.

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