Rainforest being burned for farming at faster pace
Satellite photo of earlier Amazon deforestation, in this case from road building.

Photo By Wikimedia Commons

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Satellite data shows a rise in deforestation in Brazilian and Bolivian rainforests, according to Mighty Earth, and environmental watchdog based in Washington, D.C.
The land is converted to soy bean farming, mostly used to feed cattle for the fast food hamburger industry, the group says, with agribusiness firms Cargill and Bunge the largest buyers of the farm products. 
Mighty Earth, whose study was reported upon today by the New York Times, says satellite analysis and field research found evidence of massive destruction of rainforests and other ecosystems in Latin America by Cargill and Bunge, both of which provide food products to Burger King through its suppliers. Cargill also operates a joint venture with Burger King. The group says this year millions of hectares of land in Latin America will be destroyed unnecessarily. Across Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay and other leading agricultural producers, an average of 4 million hectares of forests are cleared each year, with cattle pasture and soy farms are the largest drivers.
Mighty Earth says it sent a team to Brazil and Bolivia and documented extensive deforestation in areas that Cargill and Bunge operate, in some cases sending drones to fly over forests. It told the New York Times that supply chain mapping information tracking customs, shipment and storage data, and satellite mapping analysis by the Stockholm Environment Institute, traced soybean exports back to producers in the two countries. 
Burger King is the world’s second largest hamburger chain and one of the leading sellers of meat in the world – it operates in approximately 100 countries with more than 15,000 restaurants. Competitor McDonald’s has adopted a “No Deforestation, No Peat, and No Exploitation” policy to ensure that its suppliers are not destroying forests or harming local communities, Mighty Earth says. 

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Bill Esler | ConfSenior Editor

Bill wrote for WoodworkingNetwork.com, FDMC and Closets & Organized Storage magazines. 

Bill's background includes more than 10 years in print manufacturing management, followed by more than 30 years in business reporting on industrial manufacturing in the forest products industries, including printing and packaging at American Printer (Features Editor) and Graphic Arts Monthly (Editor in Chief) magazines; and in secondary wood manufacturing for WoodworkingNetwork.com.

Bill was deeply involved with the launches of the Woodworking Network Leadership Forum, and the 40 Under 40 Awards programs. He currently reports on technology and business trends and develops conference programs.

In addition to his work as a journalist, Bill supports efforts to expand and improve educational opportunities in the manufacturing sectors, including 10 years on the Print & Graphics Scholarship Foundation; six years with the U.S. WoodLinks; and currently on the Woodwork Career Alliance Education Committee. He is also supports the Greater West Town Training Partnership Woodworking Program, which has trained more than 950 adults for industrial wood manufacturing careers. 

Bill volunteers for Foinse Research Station, a biological field station staddling the border of Ireland and Northern Ireland, one of more than 200 members of the Organization of Biological Field Stations.