Agricultural Drivers of Land Use Change in Paraguay

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2017-04-28

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Abstract

In recent years, Paraguay has become one of the top five countries with the highest acceleration in deforestation rates. Between 2000 and 2015, Paraguay lost 20 percent of its tree-covered area. The two main drivers of deforestation in Paraguay are land clearing for cattle pastures and for soybean farms. Agriculture and ranching are encroaching on the country’s unique ecosystems, including the Gran Chaco in the West and Paraguay’s remaining portions of the biodiverse Atlantic forest in the East. This study presents a statistical and spatial analysis of Paraguay’s changing land use patterns. It also examines the policies and voluntary agreements affecting land use. Results indicate a strong correlation between expanding soybean farms in Paraguay’s Eastern Region and expanding cattle herds in the Western Region. Both soybean land area and cattle herd size are strongly correlated with deforestation. Growing demand for both beef and soybeans on international markets are likely to increase pressures on Paraguay’s remaining forests. Existing policies are insufficient to curb deforestation.

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Larsen, Janet (2017). Agricultural Drivers of Land Use Change in Paraguay. Master's project, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/14210.


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