The logic of livestock and deforestation in Amazonia
This article analyzes the logic and the economics of livestock in Amazonia by evaluating the various means of making profits from land and natural-resource capital. I also elaborate how the Amazonian livestock sector is closely linked to virtually every other rural development activity. These links establish a framework for analyzing deforestation patterns. The analysis qualifies some of the current explanations of deforestation. Finally, I focus on current approaches to diminishing this destructive land use. Conversion of forest to pasture is a logical process for both large- and small-scale owners. However, to analyze the processes one must be aware of the deficiencies of many of the current explanations of deforestation into pasture and put into context the role of cattle in contemporary lowland tropical development. Although I focus on the Amazon of Brazil, my arguments are relevant to many areas of the lowland Latin American tropics.