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Land-saving approaches and beef production growth in Brazil


  • Martha, Geraldo B.
  • Alves, Eliseu
  • Contini, Elisio


Increased food production can be achieved by incorporating more land into the productive process, by increasing productivity in already opened areas or by a combination of both strategies. By allowing a fraction of current pasture area to accommodate the expansion of food and biofuel crops intensification of existing pastoral systems is a strategy to avoid further loss of native vegetation. However, there is a common misperception that the path of growth of the Brazilian beef production has been primarily based on the expansion of extensive pastures. Empirical evidence presented in this article shows that whilst this was the case for the 1950–1975 period, the pattern of cattle production in Brazil has changed profoundly since then. During the 1950–2006 period productivity gains explained 79% of the growth in beef production in Brazil and supported a land-saving effect of 525 million hectares. Therefore, without this land-saving effect an additional pasture area that is 25% higher than the Amazon biome in Brazil would be needed to meet current levels of Brazilian beef production.

Suggested Citation

  • Martha, Geraldo B. & Alves, Eliseu & Contini, Elisio, 2012. "Land-saving approaches and beef production growth in Brazil," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 173-177.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:110:y:2012:i:c:p:173-177
    DOI: 10.1016/j.agsy.2012.03.001

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bernardo Mueller, 1997. "Property Rights and the Evolution of a Frontier," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 73(1), pages 42-57.
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    Cited by:

    1. Geraldo B. Martha & Elisio Contini & Eliseu Alves, 2012. "Embrapa: Its Origins and Changes," Chapters,in: The Regional Impact of National Policies, chapter 12 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    2. Brian J. Revell, 2015. "One Man's Meat … 2050? Ruminations on Future Meat Demand in the Context of Global Warming," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 573-614, September.
    3. Barnes, Andrew Peter, 2012. "A method for constructing an index of sustainable intensification within the developed country context," Working Papers 131466, Scottish Agricultural College, Land Economy Research Group.
    4. Jonathan Gonçalves Da Silva & Joaquim Bento De Souza Ferreira Filho, 2016. "Climate Change, Agriculture And Livestock Intensification In Brazil: The Borlaug Hypothesis," Anais do XLIII Encontro Nacional de Economia [Proceedings of the 43rd Brazilian Economics Meeting] 184, ANPEC - Associação Nacional dos Centros de Pósgraduação em Economia [Brazilian Association of Graduate Programs in Economics].
    5. Söder, Mareike, 2014. "EU biofuel policies in practice: A carbon map for the Brazilian Cerrado," Kiel Working Papers 1966, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW).
    6. repec:eee:agisys:v:153:y:2017:i:c:p:201-211 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Bowman, Maria S., 2016. "Impact of foot-and-mouth disease status on deforestation in Brazilian Amazon and cerrado municipalities between 2000 and 2010," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 75(C), pages 25-40.
    8. Andrew P. Barnes & Amanda Lucas & Gregory Maio, 2016. "Quantifying ambivalence towards sustainable intensification: an exploration of the UK public’s values," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 8(3), pages 609-619, June.
    9. de Oliveira Silva, Rafael & Barioni, Luis G. & Albertini, Tiago Zanett & Eory, Vera & Topp, Cairistiona F.E. & Fernandes, Fernando A. & Moran, Dominic, 2015. "Developing a nationally appropriate mitigation measure from the greenhouse gas GHG abatement potential from livestock production in the Brazilian Cerrado," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 140(C), pages 48-55.
    10. Barnes, Andrew Peter, 2012. "A method for constructing an index of sustainable intensification within the developed country context," Working Papers 131466, Scotland's Rural College (formerly Scottish Agricultural College), Land Economy & Environment Research Group.
    11. Galdos, Marcelo & Cavalett, Otávio & Seabra, Joaquim E.A. & Nogueira, Luiz Augusto Horta & Bonomi, Antonio, 2013. "Trends in global warming and human health impacts related to Brazilian sugarcane ethanol production considering black carbon emissions," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 576-582.
    12. repec:ags:saclwp:190939 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Arnaldo Walter & Marcelo Valadares Galdos & Fabio Vale Scarpare & Manoel Regis Lima Verde Leal & Joaquim Eugênio Abel Seabra & Marcelo Pereira da Cunha & Michelle Cristina Araujo Picoli & Camila Ortol, 2014. "Brazilian sugarcane ethanol: developments so far and challenges for the future," Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(1), pages 70-92, January.


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