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Soy and the Cerrado: Exports, Ecology Collide in Brazil’s Savanna

Aug. 7, 2017, 11:41 AM

Soybean cultivation cutting deep into the Cerrado is turning Brazil’s vast wooded savanna into farmland, a transformation so swift that endemic species are being pushed to extinction and even the country’s water supply could be affected, scientists and environmental groups warn.

Rapid changes in the region are fueled by Chinese demand for soybeans, a cash crop easily grown in Brazil; the country’s staggering economy, which embraces these expanded agricultural exports; and land-protection measures in the neighboring Amazon rainforest, which have driven soy farmers south and east into Brazil’s second-largest biome, environmental groups said.

“The Cerrado, ...