Brazil’s farmers take up reforestation – Demand for ‘greener’ products changes growers’ tactics

Juan Forero-The Washington Post, 11/23/09

Brazilian farmers have begun to undertake measures to help curb deforestaion.

Courtesy of flickr user casalMALY

For nearly 20 years, Luiz Alberto Bortolini cleared trees and planted soybeans as fast as he could, one of many pioneers who turned this barren outpost into prosperous farmland.

Now, he and hundreds of other successful farmers are replanting trees as part of an ambitious initiative to reduce deforestation. Their goal — to set aside one-third of their farms for native vegetation — is revolutionary in a region long resistant to environmental controls.

“It had to happen, as soon as possible,” said Bortolini, 50, who now has a 6,200-acre farm. “This is in the farmers’ interests because the farmer is the one most dependent on the environment.”

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