Research ArticleENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES

Expanding the Soy Moratorium to Brazil’s Cerrado

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Science Advances  17 Jul 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 7, eaav7336
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aav7336

Abstract

The Cerrado biome in Brazil is a tropical savanna and an important global biodiversity hot spot. Today, only a fraction of its original area remains undisturbed, and this habitat is at risk of conversion to agriculture, especially to soybeans. Here, we present the first quantitative analysis of expanding the Soy Moratorium (SoyM) from the Brazilian Amazon to the Cerrado biome. The SoyM expansion to the Cerrado would prevent the direct conversion of 3.6 million ha of native vegetation to soybeans by 2050. Nationally, this would require a reduction in soybean area of approximately 2%. Relative risk of future native vegetation conversion for soybeans would be driven by the Brazilian domestic market, China, and the European Union. We conclude that, to preserve the Cerrado’s biodiversity and ecosystem services, urgent action is required, including a zero native vegetation conversion agreement such as the SoyM.

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