Study by FGV EPGE professor analyzes environmental and economic benefits of agriculture
Brazil’s degraded pastures, characterized by their low productivity and inefficient land use, are an environmental liability. However, restoring these areas could become a major asset for the country. A new study, co-authored by Professor José Féres of Fundação Getulio Vargas’ Brazilian School of Economics and Finance (FGV EPGE) and Rafael Feltran-Barbieri, senior researcher at the World Resources Institute, shows that the recuperation of 12 million hectares of degraded pastureland (the area reported in the latest Agricultural Census) could expand the country’s cattle inventory by approximately 17.7 million animals, or 9.7%, in relation to the current herd.
To achieve these significant gains, it would not be necessary to invest in sophisticated methods. It would be enough to adopt simple and already available techniques, taking into account the best practices of each producing region.
The study shows that the intensification of cattle ranching through the restoration of degraded pastures could yield not just economic benefits, but also environmental ones. The restoration of 12 million hectares of degraded areas would be more than enough to meet the restoration target pledged by the Brazilian government in the Paris Agreement and it could also help to comply with the Forestry Code’s rules.
The researchers state that this transformation depends on public policies. The authors suggest redirecting farming loans to credit facilities linked to pasture and focused on municipalities that contain the largest degraded areas. At the moment, approximately 25% of degraded pastures are located in just 1% of Brazil’s municipalities.
The paper, titled “Degraded pastures in Brazil: improving livestock production and forest restoration,” was published in Royal Society Open Science and it can be consulted here.