Will Your Groceries Drive Half of Amazon Tree Species to Extinction?

"Researchers say expanding food production could radically reduce biodiversity in these important forests over the next 30 years."

"The Amazon is one of the most biologically diverse places on earth. It is also diminishing rapidly. A new study published today in Science Advances looked at more than 15,000 Amazonian tree species and found that more than half of them may be at risk for extinction due to deforestation. This massive tree clearing threatens these forests’ biodiversity, their ability to mitigate climate change, and, in many places, the welfare and safety of local communities.

What’s causing this deforestation? In a nutshell, it’s what we’re eating, from burgers to bacon and snack foods. The Amazon’s forests are being cleared to raise cows for beef, and grow soybeans to feed livestock, cocoa plantations for chocolate, and palm trees for palm oil, an ingredient now estimated to be in about half of all packaged foods.

Across the Amazon, farm owners and developers are intentionally clearing forest land, 'for agriculture in one form or another,' Agteca-Amazonica staff scientist Timothy Killeen, one of the paper’s lead authors, told Civil Eats."

Elizabeth Grossman reports for Civil Eats November 20, 2015.


"Deforestation May Threaten Majority of Amazon Tree Species, Study Finds" (New York Times)

Source: Civil Eats, 11/23/2015