Thanks to our friend Hannah. – Article via Planet Green/The Discovery Channel:
A Deforestation-Based Diet: Seven Foods That Are Destroying the World’s Forests
Common foods that are destroying the world's forests, from the precious Amazon to coastline-protecting mangroves.
“We hear a lot about the importance of eating organic and eating local, but left out of the conversation are the growing methods of some of our staple foods, and how much forest land has been lost to grow (or raise) products like beef, rice, and palm oil—the latter of which is in more foods than you might realize…”
… This is a quick look at common foods contributing the most to deforestation—and as a result, to climate change—around the world:
Beef is by far the biggest contributor to deforestation, both because of its direct role in forest clearing as well as the land converted for cattle feed. Despite efforts to combat deforestation through illegal logging, the Amazon is actually losing forest cover faster than ever, largely due to the cattle industry, which has been growing in Brazil by an average of 3 million head per year since 1974.
Palm oil production is not only one of the greatest drivers of deforestation—destroying, along with old-growth trees, crucial habitat for the endangered orangutan and Sumatran tiger—it is also one of the world’s largest sources of greenhouse gases. One of the more widely reported environmental disasters, deforestation for palm oil plantations has led Indonesia to be ranked the third-largest contributor to climate change. And it’s hard to avoid: not only will you notice the ubiquity of palm oil once you start looking, in everything from cookies to bread to baby food, it’s often disguised on labels as the generic ‘vegetable oil.’
Covering 11 million hectares of South America, soy is another leading driver of deforestation—not because of some sudden spike in demand by tofu-consuming humans, but because it is used mainly as feed for chickens, cows, and pigs in Europe. Much of the deforestation affiliated with soy is indirect: while soy farmers have done some of the clearing, it’s more often that soy is grown on already-cleared land and drives ranchers deeper into the forest.