Beef Production in Brazil: A Value Chain Approach to Reducing Deforestation

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Gonnella, Carrie
Holt, Jana
Hill, Louise
Braunz, Amy


Vermeer, Daniel

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Deforestation in the Brazilian Amazon is a persistent environmental problem due to its contributions to global climate change and biodiversity loss. The beef industry is a major contributor to this problem with an estimated 60-75% of deforestation caused by conversion of rainforest to pasture land. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef (GRSB) are seeking advice on initiatives to pursue that will make significant contributions to the reduction of deforestation.

This masters project analyzes the drivers of deforestation related to the production of Brazilian beef and identifies initiatives that could help reduce deforestation. For each initiative considered, benefits, risks, and barriers are explored. In addition, an analysis of the Brazilian beef value chain is undertaken to determine which segments of the chain hold the most appealing leverage points for implementing initiatives to combat deforestation.

Based on the results of this analysis, this paper recommends that WWF and the GRSB pursue efforts to improve land use planning, diversification of farm income, and implement financial mechanisms, such as REDD+. This paper also lays out a timeline for undertaking these initiatives, specific roles that the GRSB can play in each of these initiatives, and key stakeholders that the GRSB must engage with to be successful at positively impacting the problem of deforestation in the Amazon.





Gonnella, Carrie, Jana Holt, Louise Hill and Amy Braunz (2013). Beef Production in Brazil: A Value Chain Approach to Reducing Deforestation. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from

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