… Agriculture, much of it in support of American supply chains, is the main driver of deforestation in Latin America. The beef and palm oil industries continue to raze large swaths of tropical forest… 

 

 

New UN report details the best ways to prevent deforestation in Latin America. What’s that got to do with U.S. food needs?

The lead author of a comprehensive new report connects the dots on how the way we eat affects tropical forests—and vice versa.

 

by Lela Nargi, The Counter

04.01.2021

 

On March 25, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released a new report on the state of forests in Latin America and the Caribbean. Titled Forest Governance by Indigenous and Tribal Peoples, the report shows that forests managed by these groups are twice as likely to avoid deforestation as similarly accessible forests managed by others. But “threats to these forests and their inhabitants are growing,” according to the report, including from agricultural interests, “in a way that is disproportionate and unsustainable.” That creates a potential crisis with regards to these extensive, tree-filled tracts that are so essential for planetary health—affecting rain patterns and helping cool the air, curtailing greenhouse gas emissions and holding carbon, and protecting biodiversity. In fact, another new report, from Global Forest Watch, shows that the rate of global forest destruction accelerated sharply in the last year.

 

Agriculture, much of it in support of American supply chains, is the main driver of deforestation in Latin America. The beef and palm oil industries continue to raze large swaths of tropical forest in the global south—Brazil, in a high export year, might supply an estimated 50,000 tonnes of beef to the U.S., and imports surged during the pandemic, to close up supply chain snafus; and environmental groups Mighty Earth and Greenpeace recently turned a jaundiced eye on the promise from Brazilian meat producer JBS to eliminate deforestation…14 years from now. In light of all this, we wondered what cautionary tales were embedded in the FAO report: Just how closely is what’s going on in Latin American forests linked to choices we make about dinner in the U.S.? What parallels exist between forest-related Indigenous food sovereignty and security there and here? And what’s the best route to preserving forest and other critical lands from destruction?

 

To find out, The Counter talked to David Kaimowitz, who authored the FAO report and serves as manager of the organization’s Forest and Farm Facility. The conversation below has been edited for length and clarity.

 

How much does deforestation in Latin America affect American lives and food security? ...

 

Is American consumer demand driving the deforestation your report discusses? ...

 

Is beef the only culprit? ...

 

There’s been a push in the U.S. to restore land for Indigenous food sovereignty and security: “We depend on the land to eat,” a leader of the Yurok Tribe recently told Civil Eats. Are there parallels in Latin America? ...

 

Are we taking the threat to Indigenous-managed forests—and global health—seriously enough? ...

 

more, including links   

https://thecounter.org/united-nations-fao-indigenous-land-management-us-food-needs/