Title: Brazil non-GM soy seen threatening rain forests 
Source: Copyright 2002 Reuters 
Date: November 4, 2002 
LONDON, Nov 4 (Reuters) - Green groups have praised Brazil's 
rejection of gene-modified (GM) soybean production but fear the 
policy will take a heavy toll on the Amazon rain forests. 
"Soya farming really is emerging as the critical driver of Amazonian 
deforestation," William Laurance of the Panama-based Smithsonian 
Tropical Research Institute told Reuters. 
Andy Tait of the Greenpeace environment group added: "Ironically, 
Brazil's choice to produce non-GM soya is resulting in huge tracks of 
land being cleared." 
Brazil, the world's second largest producer and exporter of soybeans 
with over 24 percent of global output, has resisted the trend that 
has seen the United States and other producers shift to gene-modified 
varieties over the past decade. 
But its stand is fraught with dangers, Tait said. 
"Contamination is coming in from Argentina, one of the main GM soya 
producers. A lot of the soya in the south of Brazil is already 
Brazilian farmers seeking to grow non-GM soybeans had been forced to 
move continuously north and into the rain forests, where industrial 
farming methods meant trees had to go. 
"Historically, the Amazon has been nibbled away at the edges, but now 
what's been happening is like somebody going right in and chopping it 
right up," Laurance said. 
The government was spending heavily to improve infrastructure under 
its Advance Brazil programme. 
"Much of the infrastructure that this programme is going to involve 
is for instance peeling about seven and a half thousand kilometres of 
highways...transportation projects, channelling and damming three 
large river systems and so on," Laurance added. 
He estimated that by 2020 as much as 42 percent of the Amazon forest 
might have disappeared or suffered severe damage. 
"We have to realise that the Amazon as the world's largest remaining 
area of intact forest is going to be dramatically transformed by 
these avalanches of projects trying to accommodate industrial soya 
farming," Laurance said. 
Amazonia covers some 7 million square kilometres of land, with about 
5 million square kilometres in Brazil. 
It accounts for much more of the world's rainfall than previously 
supposed, recent research shows, and ecologists fear that 
deforestation will threaten the world's water 
Studies have also suggested that the Amazon may be soaking up as much 
as eight percent of man's annual carbon dioxide emissions. 

Glen Barry
M.S., Ph.D. (abd)
Forests.org, Inc.