DOI: 10.12924/cis2019.07010007 |Publication Date: 3 May 2019

Socio-Ecological Implications of Soy in the Brazilian Cerrado

Lea Rekow 1, 2, 3
1 Arts, Education & Law Group, Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia
2 Green My Favela, New York, USA
3 Bifrost Online, Florida, USA
Abstract: This paper summarizes the critical importance of the Cerrado savannah biome in Brazil and examines key ways in which large-scale agriculture, in particular large-scale soy farming, threatens water security and increases socio-ecological stress. It connects agribusiness expansion to the globalized meat industry by defining how complex economic relationships result in deforestation on a massive scale. It describes how this radical change in land cover has led to changes in rainfall patterns that are associated with extended drought periods and analyzes how these critical water shortages jeopardize socio-economic health beyond the immediate region. Further, it explicates how intensified transgenic soy farming and other pesticide-heavy crop production contributes to rising public health crises associated with carcinogen-contaminated water and food sources. Lastly, it identifies emerging trends that suggest how agribusiness corporations and governments may be legally ascribed moral responsibilities for maintaining socio-ecological health of the biome. The paper aims to contribute to a better understanding of the human dimensions of environmental issues and their impacts and reframe conservation social science discourse in regard to protection of land and water resources in the region.

Keywords: agribusiness; Brazil; Cerrado; socio-ecological security; soy; water

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2012 - 2019 by the authors; licensee Librello, Switzerland. This open access article was published under a Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).